Could India be bidding to host the Olympic Games for the first time? The answer appears to be a firm yes, after a “dead serious” Indian Olympic Association submitted a formal expression of interest to bid for the 2032 Summer Games on Monday, 3 December.
Months after expressing India’s interest in hosting the 32nd edition of the quadrennial sporting extravaganza to visiting International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach, the IOA is now set to approach the government for support.
"We are dead serious about this bid for the 2032 Olympics. So, we have already submitted to the IOC the letter expressing our interest in hosting 2032 Olympic Games. I had a meeting with the Bid Committee of the IOC. They welcomed the move and said that India should have hosted an Olympic Games much earlier." - Rajeev Mehta, IOA Secretary General to PTI
The IOA had already submitted its formal ‘Expression of Interest’ to the IOC earlier this year, following which Secretary General Rajeev Mehta held a meeting with a three-member bid committee of the IOC in Tokyo.
New Delhi and Mumbai are believed to be the top options as venues in the minds of IOA’s top brass, but other cities haven’t been ruled out.
This is the first time that the IOA has officially submitted an Expression of Interest to host an Olympic Games to the IOC.
“At the first stage, a country expresses its interest to bid for the Olympics and at a later stage the proposed host city or cities is mentioned in the bid. India has not bid or expressed interest to host Olympic Games earlier,” explained Mehta.
Indonesia – successful hosts of the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta-Palembang – has already submitted its own Expression of Interest, while Chinese city Shanghai and Australia’s Brisbane are also reportedly mulling a bid. North and South Korea, too, are considering a historic joint bid, while Germany also plans to host the 2032 Games in 13 cities of the country.
"We are going to approach the government to back the bid after our GBM passes a resolution to that effect. The bidding process will start in 2022 but before that we have to get the nod from the central government that it will back the bid." - Rajeev Mehta, IOA Secretary General to PTI
“We have to get the letter of backing from the central government, from the state government where the proposed venue is located and even from the Leader of the Opposition Party,” Mehta added. “We also have to get a lot of guarantees from various government agencies. But all these will start only if the government says it will back such a bid.”
The response of the government, however, has so far been cautious. Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Rathore has hinted that India would do better to get more Olympic medals or spend the money on sporting infrastructure than host the spectacle in the country.
"We have made this (intention to bid for 2032 Olympic Games) known to the government but the Sports Ministry has been muted in its response so far. On the part of IOA, we are all prepared to start working for the bid process. We will do what we can do and the rest it is up to the government (to back IOA or not)." - Rajeev Mehta, IOA Secretary General to PTI
The bidding process for the 2032 Olympics will start in 2022, and a host city will be announced in 2025.
(With inputs from PTI)
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