Thailand Mulls Bid To Host 2026 Youth Olympic Games

Thailand is interested in hosting the 2026 Youth Olympic Games, it was revealed in PyeongChang this week during the Olympic Winter Games.

IOC President Thomas Bach with Thailand's Deputy Prime Minister General Prawit Wongsuwan during a meeting with the Thailand NOC in PyeongChang (IOC Photo)

IOC President Thomas Bach (right) with Thailand’s  NOC President and Deputy Prime Minister General Prawit Wongsuwan during a meeting with the Thailand NOC in PyeongChang (IOC Photo)

Thai National Olympic Committee (NOC) President and Deputy Prime Minister General Prawit Wongsuwan told the Bangkok Post after a meeting with IOC President Thomas Bach “This year’s edition [of the Youth Olympic Games] will be taking place in Argentina and the next edition of 2022 is likely to be held in Africa.”

“No country has so far expressed its interest to host the Games in 2026,” he added, hinting that could be Thailand’s target.

Four Thai NOC representatives were on hand at the high-level Olympic meeting in South Korea including IOC Member Khunying Patama Leeswadtrakul who claims the IOC will support a Thai bid.

“The IOC president said that if the event benefits Thai people, it could propose [to host the Games],” she told the Bangkok Post.

“There is no need to have new stadiums built and making full use of the existing ones would be enough.”

Earlier this year the IOC outlined its mandate to site the 2022 edition of the quadrennial youth event in Africa – with Senegal being the current leading candidate.  Further, the IOC says it will target strategic regions in the future and proactively work with cities in order to keep the costs of bidding for the Games very low.

The IOC will elect the successful 2022 African city in October at the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games, but the organization has yet to describe its direction for 2026.  The strategy is to bring the smaller Youth Olympic event to areas that couldn’t typically support the larger mainstream Games.

Many IOC members including International Sport Federations and other sport leadership from around the world will descend upon Bangkok in April for the annual SportAccord Convention – the biggest meeting of the year on the International Sport Calendar.

The Youth Olympic Games were launched as a project by former IOC President Jacques Rogge and saw its inaugural edition hosted in Singapore in 2010 followed by Nanjing in 2014.  The Winter editions have taken place in Innsbruck in 2012, Lillehammer in 2016 and will be hosted in Olympic Capital Lausanne, Switzerland in 2020.

Robert Livingstone

About Robert Livingstone

Robert Livingstone is a senior editor, award-nominated journalist and author, covering Olympic bid business as founder of GamesBids.com as well as providing freelance support for print and Web publications around the world. He is a member of the Olympic Journalists Association and the International Society of Olympic Historians. Follow him @enotsgnivil

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