The India Olympic Association (IOA) Thursday announced that India will endeavor to bid for both the Youth Olympic Games in 2026 and the Olympic Games in 2032, as well as the 2030 Asian Games. The aggressive bid schedule was disclosed as International Olympic Committee (IOC) President meets with officials in New Delhi during a two-day visit.
It is the second visit to India for Bach as IOC President. During his last trip in 2015 he urged IOA officials not to bid for the 2024 Olympics, indicating that India was not ready.
Bach gave no such warning to IOA President Narinder Batra this time around instead encouraging the plans, but suggesting patience.
The IOC President said “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.
“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.”
Bach’s remarks seem to reflect a tone of doubt regarding India’s chances, and are in contrast to the IOC’s recent claims about the bid process.
In February during the PyeongChang Winter Games, IOC Executive Director Christophe Dubi told GamesBids.com that with the new bidding rules it is never too early to engage with the IOC on a future bid.
“There is one city saying ‘we’re interested for ’32’; we have a meeting [today], and the dialogue starts now for ’32,” Dubi insisted.
The 2032 host city will be chosen in 2025.
Last year the IOC awarded the 2024 Games to Paris and the 2028 edition to Los Angeles.
The IOC is currently retooling the Youth Olympic Games site selection process, and have committed to awarding the 2022 edition to an African city with a final election set for October during the Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires. Dakar in Senegal, Abuja in Nigeria and Tunis in Tunisia are considered in the running.
Bach said “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 finalize 2022 Youth Olympics hosts, we will start the procedure for 2026.”
The Olympics have never been held in India. In 2010 New Delhi hosted the Commonwealth Games and the event was plagued with delays and corruption.
Batra said “We are bidding for three events, 2026 Youth Olympics, 2030 Asian Games and 2032 Olympics. We don’t know whether they will come to India or not. Let us see how fierce the competition is.”
Earlier this year Indian Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Rathore said his government was not interested in hosting big sports events such as the Olympics, questioning the benefits to the country. He instead suggested the Youth Olympics were more within reach.
Bangkok in Thailand is also interested in bidding for the 2026 Youth Olympics. This week the city hosted thousands of international sport stakeholders at the annual SportAccord Convention.
A senior producer and award-winning journalist covering Olympic bid business as founder of GamesBids.com 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.