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While riders are focusing on preparations for Rio 2016, a handful of cities are already turning their attention to the 2024 Olympics, as the formal bidding process starts this year.

With a disappointing number of cities dropping out of the process to host the 2022 Winter Games, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has already taken steps to make the bidding process more flexible.

“There is strong interest [in 2024],” said IOC president Thomas Bach. “You can already see there is a very positive attitude.”

The equestrian world will have to wait until 15 September 2017 to find out which city has been successful, but here are some of the early possibilities.

South Africa

The province of Gauteng looks likely to enter a bid, providing the IOC allows it to bid as an area. Cape Town lost out in its attempt to become the first African city to host an Olympics in 2004. However, a successful bid from an African country could cause major logistical issues for equestrian sports, due to the prevalence of diseases such as African Horse Sickness.

France

Exactly 100 years since France last hosted the Games, Paris could be in the running again. But after the chaos at this summer’s World Equestrian Games in Normandy, some equestrian fans might take a little persuading that French organisation can be improved. Currently there still appears to be disagreement between the mayor of Paris and the French president as to whether to bid at all. A decision by the mayoris expected later this month.

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Doha was a candidate for both the 2016 and 2020 Olympics, but did not make the list of finalists. The dates are likely to be an issue, particularly for equestrian events, as the searing heat of the summer months would mean the Games would have to be held outside the traditional July-August period. However, with the Al Shaqab Equestrian Centre already a fixture on the Global Champions Tour, it has stronger equestrian credentials than some other candidates.

USA

America has not hosted an Olympics since 1996, and if it enters a bid it would be considered the early favourite. The country’s Olympic committee is weighing up bids from four cities — San Francisco, Boston, Washington DC and Los Angeles (pictured top at the 1984 Olympics) — before deciding whether to submit a candidate to the IOC this year. Venues for the equestrian disciplines are already under consideration, with Movern Park near Leesburg, Virginia reportedly the chosen venue if the Washington bid is successful. But with no medals at all at Atlanta in 1996, Britain will be hoping for a better run if the Games return to USA soil.

Ref: Horse & Hound; 8 January 2015