Officials in India claim they have entered a dialogue with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) with plans to host the 2036 Olympic Games across multiple cities in the nation.
President of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) Narinder Batra said the possible Games would be anchored by Ahmedabad’s Narendra Modi Stadium (known as Motera), the 132,000 seat cricket stadium considered the largest in the world and could host the Opening Ceremony should the bid become successful.
“If someone asks me about the venue for the opening ceremony at present, then it is definitely going to be the Motera stadium,” Batra said during an event on the weekend, according to Press Trust of India (PTI)
“There is no stadium better suited to host the opening ceremony of the Olympics (in India),” he added.
“I can’t say what will happen by 2036…. (but) I will be proposing Ahmedabad as the venue for the opening ceremony,”
Batra said athletics events would also be staged at Motera, but other Olympic events could be held in up to three or four additional cities across the nation by embracing new IOC rules that allow for the Games venues to be sited over a broader footprint and even shared across international borders.
In 2019 IOC reforms called for more sustainable Games plans and encouraged host nations to use venues that already exist, where they exist to eliminate costly and risky new construction.
The announcement came on the heels of a recently released study out of Ahmedabad that revealed only half of the 40 existing sports venues in the city were capable of staging Olympic events with minimal upgrades. But further recommendations in the contracted feasibility analysis indicated that the city could host in 2036 without significant development by including other cities in overall plans.
The final report is due to be released in two-months time and Ahmedabad plans to use the document as a roadmap for future infrastructure development across the city.
India had been in early-stage discussions with the IOC to bid for the 2032 Olympic Games before Brisbane was named the preferred candidate in a surprise announcement. That led to the event being awarded to Australia four years ahead of traditional timelines, seemingly catching the IOA unprepared and rendering the governing body a target of criticism from government officials who saw an opportunity lost.
India immediately set a new target on 2036, and Batra explained that he is adapting to the new IOC rules.
“If we talk about the 2036 Olympics, then yes, we are already talking to the International Olympic Committee. Being the president of IOA, my discussions with the IOC happen on the subject….2036 Olympics will be finalized in two-three years, and we are currently discussing with IOC,” Batra said.
“You have to show them three-four centres, because now you can do it at multiple places, then you will show them the venues, new as well as the existing, and what are their legacy use.
“Motera Stadium has a legacy,” he said.
There are several places already discussing 2036 bids including projects from Germany, India, Indonesia, Hungary, Qatar and North and South Korea – many that were involved in the dialogue for 2032 and are expected to remain in the running for future Games.
Last month Madrid’s Vice Mayor hinted her city could re-enter the running after three recent defeats. London, Istanbul and several cities across Russia have also expressed interest in joining the race.
India, the second most populous nation in the world, has never hosted an Olympic Games.
“India has come on the world radar, and is heading towards becoming the third largest economy in the world. By 2036, it is going to be the second or third largest economy,” Batra said.
The next Summer Games will be held in Paris in 2024 followed by Los Angeles in 2028. There is no set timetable for the election of future Games, but cities are invited into continuous dialogue with the IOC’s Future Host Commission until a suitable partner is found and recommended to the Executive Board for a decision.
The IOC membership must then approve the host city selection by a majority Session vote.