India has filed a letter of Interest with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to bid for the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2032, making good on promises that were made to pursue the project earlier this year.
The move marks the first time the nation has ever taken any official steps towards an Olympic bid.
Indian Olympic Association (IOA) Secretary General Rajeev Mehta met with IOC officials at the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) General Assembly in Tokyo last week and reportedly met with the Associate Director of Olympic Candidatures Jacqueline Barrett to confirm India’s interest.
“We are dead serious about this bid for the 2032 Olympics. So, we have already submitted to the IOC the letter expressing our interest in hosting 2032 Olympic Games, Mehta told PTI.
“I had a meeting with the Bid Committee of the IOC. They welcomed the move and said that India should have hosted an Olympic Games much earlier.”
The IOA is planning to approach the government to support plans that see New Delhi and Mumbai as potential candidate cities. The IOA General Body will first need to approve the decision at a meeting December 22.
New Delhi hosted the 2010 Commonwealth Games that has been remembered as a project fraught with delays and corruption.
“At the first stage, a country expresses its interest to bid for the Olympics and at a later stage the proposed host city or cities is mentioned in the bid,” Mehta added.
The IOC has already awarded Games until 2028 after siting two editions simultaneously last year and awarding Los Angeles the event a record eleven years in advance. Paris will host in 2024.
“We have to get the letter of backing from the central government, from the state government where the proposed venue is located and even from the Leader of the Opposition Party,” Mehta said.
“We also have to get a lot of guarantees from various government agencies. But all these will start only if the government says it will back such a bid.”
The 2032 Games host city is scheduled to be selected in 2025. If approved, the IOA will prepare a campaign starting in 2022.
“We have made this known to the government but the Sports Ministry has been muted in its response so far.,” Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Rathore told media.
“On the part of IOA, we are all prepared to start working for the bid process.”
“We will do what we can do and the rest it is up to the government.
“China has hosted Summer Olympics and is going to host Winter Olympics in 2022. If South Korea is hosting Olympics, why can’t India? We are a big country, an emerging economic superpower,” Rathore said.
Interest in hosting the Summer Olympics seems on the rise since the previous 2024 race saw a list of five candidates dwindle to only two when public and political opposition ended three projects.
Last week IOC President Thomas Bach said he was encouraged by emerging interest to host the 2032 Olympics, seeing it as a sign of stability for the organization.
“This stability in this world we are living in is the hardest currency we can have,” he said.
“This long term stability with excellent (Olympic) hosts already decided, with others already on the horizon 14 years ahead.”
Last month North and South Korea announced the development of a joint bid for the 2032 Games, marking the thaw of tensions between the two at-war nations.
Indonesian officials announced in September that they’ll begin to prepare Jakarta for a 2032 bid after staging a successful Asian Games this year.
Shanghai’s announced that the Chinese city could consider a 2032 bid while it sets a course to become a “globally famous” sport city.
In October Bach said he had received firm interest from Brisbane in Australia as it develops a feasibility study.
Buenos Aires in Argentina is also considering mounting a Summer Olympic bid after successfully hosting the Youth Olympics this month. The same city is also studying a possible bid for a 2026 or 2030 Winter Olympics.
Other interest in bidding for the 2032 Games has come from Germany, Russia and Egypt.
Meanwhile, five of seven applicants for the 2026 Winter Olympics have exited the race – leaving only Stockholm in Sweden and a joint Italian project between Milan and Cortian d’Ampezzo. Both bids are still seeking government assurances and support before they can hope to be chosen host city when the IOC votes in June.