Officials representing the Olympic Committee of Thailand will officially signal the launch of a 2026 Youth Olympic Games (YOG) bid next week in a letter of interest to the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
Governor the Sports Authority of Thailand (SAT) Kongsak Yodmanee will put forward Bangkok and nearby Chonburi Province as joint applicants to host the quadrennial sports event organized for athletes from the ages of 15 to 18. The decision was made Friday at a meeting of the NOC, reports the Daily News.
Thai Olympic officials first proposed the bid during the PyeongChang Olympic Winter Games, who at the time said IOC President Thomas Bach supported the idea that planned to leverage only existing infrastructure and fit the scope of new host city reforms.
Yodmanee this week engaged the Minister of Tourism and Sport and the Olympic Committee of Thailand to solidify plans before drafting the letter that will be sent to Bach and his Executive Board. In his pitch, the Governor expressed urgency.
“Within the next week I have to signal to IOC,” Yodmanee said.
“This has to be done urgently because India wants to host as well.
“If we have resolved to host the Youth Olympic Games we must proceed to catch up with India.”
India’s proposed bid for the Games is part of an overall sports road map for the nation that includes an IOC Session scheduled in Mumbai in 2023, this 2026 Youth Olympic bid, a bid to host the 2030 Asian Games and finally a bid to stage the 2032 Olympic Games.
But India has temporarily slowed its pursuit of these events amid the coronavirus pandemic, potentially giving Thailand a chance to catch up.
Also in the race is second-time bidder Medellin after Colombia named its applicant earlier this year. The city was defeated by 2018 YOG host city Buenos Aires in Argentina.
Last December a Russian sports minister expressed interest in preparing Kazan for a 2026 bid, but there have been no further development reported.
Yodmanee has planned public hearings in Thailand as his team liaises with the IOC’s Host City Commission as part of the bid process. There is no set timeline for the election of the host city.
On Thursday IOC President Bach admitted, in reference to the Summer Games bid, that now is not the “best moment” to be starting a candidature procedure amid the COVID-19 crisis.
In January, PyeongChang was awarded the 2024 Winter YOG only four months after a campaign began under a new selection process. The bid was the only candidate proposed by the Host City Commission.
The 2022 Summer YOG will be staged in Dakar, Senegal after a selection process specifically targeted countries in Africa and four cities were accepted as applicants. It will be the first time an Olympic event is held on the continent.