Smiles remain despite defeat

IN Manchester they decided to party anyway as rock bands and showbiz stars kept a crowd of 15,000 smiling through their disappointment.

The crowd had gathered throughout the day at Castlefield, which would have been the heart of the Olympic village.

There were a few tears and downcast looks as the vote was announced live from Monaco on giant television screens and then the band struck up Always Look on the Bright Side of Life. The crowd stood and rocked from side to side in unison - and it was hardto tell they had lost.

The first reaction came from Craig Reedie, chairman of the British Olympic Association who commented: ''It is a bit of a roller coaster ride. We are obviously disappointed, but I have to say I am happy for Sydney. And I think they will do it very well.'' Olympic gold medal winner at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics Chris Brasher was disappointed the games had not gone to Manchester - but pleased Beijing had not won because of its human rights record.

''I am relieved that Beijing did not get it. I am sad for Manchester, they did a great job but in the end this is only the second time in over a century that it has gone to the southern hemisphere. If justice was to be done it had to go to the southern hemisphere.'' Manchester was the only one of the contenders to have bid twice, and last night it was not clear whether it would do so again.

A spokesman for the Manchester 2000 campaign said: ''Manchester is already a winner. Its new tram system, new airport terminal, a new motorway and rail links were already improving the life of the residents of the North of England city.''