Delhi sets sights on bid for 2048 Olympic Games

Just days after India was virtually eliminated from a possible 2032 Olympic Games bid, Delhi has adjusted its aim to instead target the 2048 edition – 27 years from now.

Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia (Twitter Photo)
Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia (Twitter Photo)

While presenting his city budget Tuesday, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia unveiled his vision for a slow path towards hosting the largest international multi-sport event on the planet.

He said “There is another big dream related to sports which I am placing before this house… It is a dream to organize the Olympic Games in Delhi.”

“The 32nd Olympic Games are to be held in Tokyo. The next three host cities have also been decided,” Sisodia added.

“Our government aims to bring the sports facilities and the atmosphere towards sports competitions to such a level through the new Sports University that we can apply to host the 39th Olympic sports competitions for 2048.”

Sisodia said development of the Sports University will begin this year.

Over the past two years Indian sports officials had laid out an aggressive roadmap that included hosting the Youth Olympic Games, the Asian Games and then finally the Olympic Games in 2032.  But last year the Asian Games were awarded to Doha and Riyadh in 2030 and 2034 respectively and the 2022 Youth Olympic Games in Dakar were moved to 2026.

Last month the International Olympic Committee (IOC) named Brisbane the preferred candidate for the 2032 Olympics, all but assuring that Australia is set to host its third Games.  The missed opportunity resulted in criticism and finger-pointing within the Indian Olympic Association (IOA).

The early declaration to bid for a Games still decades away may seem laughable, but Sisodia insisted that comprehensive planning will be necessary.

He said “This may seem far away, but we have to bid for it 10 years before 2048. And before that, it will take 15 years to build adequate infrastructure, create an atmosphere where sports flourishes and bring our players to a level where they bring medals in sports competitions leading to Olympics 2048.”

New IOC bidding rules favor proposals that include existing venues and infrastructure rather than using the Games as a catalyst for major development, so Sisodia’s planning may not be far off the mark if India is to be considered a serious contender to host the event.

Delhi Chief minister Arvind Kejriwal told reporters following the presentation “In the budget, we have mentioned a vision that the 2048 Olympic Games should be held in Delhi.”

“We shall bid for the games and we will do whatever it takes to build the infrastructure and create other necessities required for this. We will talk to the Central government to bid for Delhi as an Olympic venue for the 2048 Games.”

India has never hosted an Olympic Games but Delhi twice staged the Asian Games in 1951 and 1982 as well as the Commonwealth Games in 2010.

A senior producer and award-winning journalist covering Olympic bid business as founder of as well as providing freelance support for print and Web publications around the world. Robert Livingstone is a member of the Olympic Journalists Association and the International Society of Olympic Historians.

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