New Delhi, Apr 19 (PTI) The Indian Olympic Association today decided to bid for the 2026 Youth Olympics as well as the 2032 Summer Olympics, receiving appreciation from the visiting International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach.
In a press conference addressed with Bach here, IOA President Narinder Batra said, “We are bidding for three events, 2026 Youth Olympics, 2030 Asian Games and 2o32 Olympics. We don’t know whether they will come to India or not. Let us see how fierce the competition is.” Bach, who is on a two-day visit to the country, said India has the capability to host big Olympic events but advised the IOA to wait for the bidding process to start.
“We have taken note with great appreciation of the intention of IOA to host future Youth Olympics and Summer Olympics. It would be fantastic for Indian athletes to have their Olympics at their home country. It will give a boost to sports in India and develop interest in many young people to take up sports,” Bach, who was last here in 2015, said.
“But it’s not the time to discuss in detail about future candidates as no procedure is currently open neither for Olympic Games nor for Youth Olympics. The next available slot for Youth Olympics is 2026 but we are even yet to decide on 2022 edition host city, the process is underway. Only after we finalise 2022 Youth Olympics hosts, we will start the procedure for 2026,” said Bach.0 The IOC chief also had a meeting with Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Rathore during the day.
The bidding process for the 2026 Youth Olympics is likely to start in early part of 2020. Besides India, Thailand has also expressed interest to host the 2026 Youth Olympics.
Regarding the IOA’s intention to bid for 2032 Olympics, Bach said, “There is a lot of time left till we open bidding procedure for 2032 Olympics. We have to wait till that.” A decision on the 2032 Summer Olympics host city will only be taken in 2025 and the bidding process is expected to start sometime before that.
Germany — which has proposed a 13-city bid — and Australia (likely to be Brisbane) have expressed their desire to bid for 2032 Olympics and more countries are expected to join the fray later on.
Just after taking charge as IOA chief in December last, Batra had said that India should think of hosting big-ticket events like the Asian Games and Olympics.
Bach also revealed that a four-party working group comprising the IOC, IOA, Olympic Council of Asia and the sports ministry has been constituted “to devise a road map on how the most hopeful Indian athletes can be best prepared for 2020 Olympics”.
“We discussed (with the sports minister) about sports science, coaching, sports for all and role of sports in society. The IOC can assist and put its expertise in all these matters. We can see some initiatives which will be beneficial for Indian athletes so that they can excel in 2020 Olympics,” said the IOC chief who was here with the OCA chief Sheikh Ahmad Al-Sabah.
There has been tensions in recent times between the IOA and the sports ministry regarding transparency and good governance on one hand and autonomy of sports bodies on the other.
“We will ensure that there is good governance in the IOA and the NSFs but at the same time our autonomy will also have to be respected. So we have decided to form a working group to address these issues,” said Batra, who recently has directed the NSFs and state olympic units not to be associated with Khelo India initiative of the sports ministry.
“We are happy that the IOA has given a firm commitment that good governance will be a priority. The Sports Minister also said that the government recognises the autonomy of sports bodies. Both have to go together,” Bach said.
Asked if he saw any ‘crossing of line’ by either the ministry or the IOA on these issues, Bach said, “Unfortunately, we had seen it a couple or years ago (when IOA was suspended). We need clear rules and principles to have good governance on one one side and respect of autonomy on the other in order to prevent crossing of lines by either.
“We are putting experts on good governance and autonomy issues at the disposal of the minister and the IOA to establish these principles and draft the regulations in line with Olympic Charter and IOC guidelines. We made this offer and the minister and IOA have accepted it.” Asked about India’s shameful record regarding doping violations, Bach said, “We have received a very clear and firm commitment from the minister that fair sports and clean sports is the first priority for the government. We are confident this issue will be addressed properly with the help of WADA.” Batra said that the IOA will ask the ministry to adopt the ”No Needle” policy in the the national camps also.
“Every athlete should get used to the ‘No Needle’ policy,” he said while mentioning the incident of two Indian athletes being sent back from the Gold Coast CWG for violating the “No Needle” policy.
He also promised Bach that the gender imbalance in the IOA and its units will be addressed.
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.