India can host the Olympics
International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach's short visit to the Capital was thoroughly packed. At the end of a long day, where he met sports minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, the newly elected executive board of the Indian Olympic Association and also some athletes, he had wonderful words to offer.
Praising the performance of the Indian athletes at the Gold Coast CWG, Bach said his visit could not have come at a better time.
"Congrats to the IOA and the athletes for winning 66 medals at the Games. India will tap on the great potential with regard to elite sport," he said. Bach said India could build from here on and do well in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
This was Bach's second visit to India and he showered lavish praise on the hospitality offered. He is a lawyer by profession and won a fencing gold medal at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal. Bach knows what it is to have a strong sporting culture, so he talked of a "four-partite working group."
The IOC, Olympic Council of Asia, IOA and the sports ministry would devise a roadmap for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics so that athletes can gain from it. This will involve Indian athletes getting guidance from international experts.
Bach's meeting with the officials of the sports ministry and the IOA in the morning revolved around good governance to winning clean medals. At the same time, the IOC made it clear it was all for autonomy of the IOA.
IOA president Narinder Batra said as a fall-out from the Gold Coast CWG, he had told the sports ministry the "no needle policy" must be applicable to all national camps in India. "There should be no use of syringes in national camps. We are all for clean sport," said Batra.
As reported earlier by Mail Today, Batra said India would bid for the 2026 Youth Olympics, the 2030 Asian Games and the 2032 Olympics.
"One day, India can host the Olympics Games," said Bach and quickly added the window for it was not open now. He felt India had the potential to host the Olympics.
Even though the meeting with the sports ministry did not talk of hosting big ticket sporting events, sources in the IOA told Mail Today appropriate clearances would be taken from the highest level in the government.
In an interactive session with the media, Bach made it clear the future of Olympics was exciting. With Paris set to host the 2024 Olympics and Los Angeles the 2028 Games, talks on possible host cities for the 2032 would come up for discussion later.
As per current rules, should India want to host the 2032 Games, the official bid will be six years before, in 2026. There will be plenty of lobbying before that but given the state of flux in global politics, it makes sense for India to first host the Youth Olympics.
Talking about eSports being a part of Olympics, Bach said "It is not enough to show physical activity in a sport but it needs to be consistent with the root of sport -- faster, higher, stronger."
"Of course, the IOC wants the Olympic Games to stay relevant to young audiences and include sport that can be held in centres of the host city in the midst of people, not just in stadia," he said.
Earlier, Batra assured the government all support in matters of good governance, transparency and in implementing the sports code.