The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) is expected to indicate its interest in hosting the Youth Olympic Games in 2026, local media has reported. The announcement is expected as early as Wednesday when International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach arrives in New Delhi to meet with India Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Rathore.
Bach will be accompanied by Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) President Sheikh Ahmad Al Sabah in his second visit as IOC President to the Indian Capital.
Last year newly elected IOA President Narinder Batra said he wanted India to pursue “big-ticket” events such as the Olympic in 2032, but Rathore later said that the Indian government wasn’t behind this strategy.
An IOA officials reportedly told a local media outlet in anonymity “Since the cost of hosting a Youth Olympics is to be shared with the IOC, the government is likely to agree to India hosting it in near future.”
“So, we will express our willingness during the meeting with Bach.”
No IOA source has been able to confirm this report.
The Youth Olympics are run at a much smaller sale than the Summer Olympics, making it more accessible to more nations and requiring less existing infrastructure. The IOC shares in the costs and planning of the Games.
In October this year the event is to be held in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
The IOC has already confirmed that the 2022 edition will be staged in Africa and officials are working closely and proactively with interested African cities to move the project forward quickly. Dakar in Senegal emerged as an early favourite but recent reports suggest Tunis in Tunisia and Abuja in Nigeria are also now involved in dialogue with the IOC.
An IOC Commission will report on the prospective cities in June and final bidders will be announced in July. The host city will be elected in October.
The IOC have been retooling the Youth Olympic Games format and site selection process and will launch a new bid process for the 2026 edition, likely sometime in 2020.
Thailand has discussed its interested in hosting the same 2026 Games and is floating the idea to international sports stakeholders at the SportAccord Convention currently underway in Bangkok.
The Youth Olympics were launched in Singapore in 2010 and were subsequently staged in 2014 in Nanjing, China.
A winter version was first hosted in Innsbruck in 2012 and then in Lillehammer in 2016. Olympic Capital Lausanne in Switzerland is set to stage the 2020 edition.
In the past, the Youth Olympics have been used as a sandbox to test potential future Olympic sports that have youth appeal. The Games have also been a springboard for young athletes ahead of Olympic appearances and athletic careers.