India prime minister Narendra Modi has confirmed the country’s intention to bid for the 2036 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) session is being held in India for the first time since 1983.
Modi used his address at Saturday’s opening ceremony in Mumbai to stress India’s interest in hosting the multi-sport event in 13 years’ time, with Poland, Indonesia and Mexico among the expected candidates.
“Indians are not just sports lovers, but we also live it,” Modi said.
“India is eager to host the Olympics in the country. India will leave no stone unturned in the preparation for the successful organisation of the Olympics in 2036 – this is the dream of the 140 crore [1.4 billion] Indians.
“We want to realise this dream with your support. We are [also] willing to host the 2029 Youth Olympics. I am sure India will get constant support from IOC.”
The hosts of the 2030 and 2034 Winter Olympics are set to be confirmed at next year’s IOC Session in Paris on the eve of the Summer Games, as part of a double allocation.
In his speech at the ceremony, IOC president Thomas Bach described India as an “inspiring place.”
He added: “Your presence here today, dear prime minister, is a testimony to [the] growing importance of Olympic sport in your wonderful country.”
Bach also announced the IOC is exploring plans for the creation of Olympic Esports Games, which follows on from the Olympic Virtual Series in 2021 and the Olympic Esports Week in Singapore earlier this year.
“This was a promising start – but it is just that: a start,” he said.
“It is like in any sport: after even a promising start, the real race still lies ahead.
“We chose an approach that would allow us to be active in the esports space while staying true to our values that have guided us for over a century.
“With respect to esports, our values are and remain the red line that we will not cross. Our crystal-clear position is gaining more and more respect also in the esports community.”
It was also announced in India that cricket, squash, baseball/softball, lacrosse and flag football will all be included in the Olympic programme at the Los Angeles Games in 2028.
The proposal was approved at the IOC session in Mumbai on 16th October, with only two delegates voting against the new events.
Cricket returns to the Games for the first time in 128 years in the form of six-team men’s and women’s Twenty20 tournaments, lacrosse for the first time as a medal sport since 1908 while baseball has featured at the Olympics several times.
Flag football, a non-contact format of American football, and squash are included for the first time.
Bach had described cricket’s inclusion in the LA2028 programme as a “win-win situation” when he spoke about it on 13th October.
“The Olympic Games will give cricket a global stage and the opportunity to grow beyond the traditional cricket countries and regions,” Bach said.
“And for the Olympic Movement, it’s the opportunity to engage with fan and athlete communities to which so far we have very little or even no access.”
Bach insisted he did not have to twist the LA organisers’ arms to include cricket on its list of prospective new sports, in spite of it being very much an emerging sport still in the United States.
“It did not take anything to convince them,” the German said.
“The idea first came up in a dinner I shared with Casey Wasserman [the chairman of LA 2028] at the athletics World Championships in Eugene last year.
“Casey saw already the great potential [of cricket] and was highlighting it himself. So there was not much work to do, if any.”
Bach has also received support from a number of IOC members to stay on as president beyond 2025, which is when his current term expires. Should he have his tenure extended for a third term, he would exceed the 12-year limit set out by the Olympic Charter.
Source : Sports Promedia