Officials in India admit that bids for major sports events are not currently moving forward amid the global pandemic, but hope to relaunch efforts soon.
Indian Olympic Association (IOA) President Narinder Batra told The New Indian Express Saturday that bids for the Olympic Games and Commonwealth Games are still within the organization’s plans but won’t be addressed until next year.
“2032, there is no bidding. That system is over,” Batra said referring to the suspension of India’s Olympic Games bid earlier this year while the pandemic raged across the hard-hit nation.
Other countries also halted their campaigns during the global crisis, including the well-organized project proposed from Queensland, Australia. That Brisbane-centered bid was just restarted last week as local officials claim the coronavirus pandemic is under control in the state.
But Narinder said he remains in touch with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as part of a continuous dialogue phase the organization maintains with hopeful Games hosts.
“We are in touch with people,” he said, “there is Australia, Spain, Holland.
“We will see.”
Other regions have been discussing bids too including Jakarta in Indonesia, Doha in Qatar, a regional project in Germany, a joint Unified Korea bid from Seoul and Pyongyang, a joint bid from Chengdu and Chongqing in China, and Istanbul in Turkey. The IOC has no set timeline for the election of a 2032 host.
In 2018 Indian sports officials wrote to IOC President Thomas Bach committing to a 2032 Olympic bid, and outlining a roadmap to the potential event that includes hosting an IOC session, hosting the 2026 Youth Olympic Games, the 2030 Asian Games and then finally the Olympics.
In March Mumbai was chosen to host the 2023 IOC Session, but the other two milestones will not be met. Dakar in Senegal was chosen to host the 2022 Youth Olympics, but due to Covid-19 the capital will instead become the first African city to host an Olympic event in 2026 after those Games were moved due to Covid-19.
On Wednesday (December 16) the Olympic Council of Asia will elect either Doha, Qatar or Riyadh, Saudi Arabia to host the 2030 Asian Games. India is not in the running.
But Batra hinted the a 2030 Commonwealth Games bid could be a target, and plans will be further discussed early next year.
“We have given an expression of interest (to the IOC). Then Covid-19 came and everything went into a standstill mode,” Batra said.
“We will be having a meeting in the first quarter of the next year. Not only for the Olympics, but for other Games also.
“2030 Asian Games is gone now. Could be Commonwealth Games in . You need to have something if you want to have the people involved.
“2032, we are still keen.”
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.