India to step up battle for 2032 Olympics after pandemic
Narinder Batra, president of the Indian Olympic Association, has said the country will step up its efforts to host the 2032 Olympic Games and other international events when the global coronavirus pandemic eases.
Batra, who is also head of the FIH, fied hockey's governing body, told news agency AFP: “We are serious and definitely pitching for the 2026 Youth Olympic Games and the 2032 Olympics.”
Other potential hosts for the 2032 Olympic Games include, Queensland in Australia, Shanghai in China, Jakarta in Indonesia and a potential joint bid between Seoul and Pyongyang in South and North Korea.
The country has written an expression of interest to the International Olympic Committee for the 2026 Youth Olympic Games but faces reported competition from Thailand and Colombia.
Batra said while “documentation” has started for India's 2032 bid, all work is currently suspended due to the health crisis.
He said: “Now there is a team that visits various venues and you keep talking to them and then they submit a report. It is a continuous process which I believe will see no activity until December.
“This is not the time to talk with business houses or government about pitching for the Olympics. The first thing should we how we sort out this problem which has come into the world.”
Batra said while his country had lessons to learn from hosting the Commonwealth Games in 2010, its growing economic power means it now has the resources to host major events.
Delhi’s hosting of the 2010 Commonwealth Games was marred by construction delays, failing infrastructure and accusations of financial mismanagement.
Batra said: “I can say the biggest takeaway was that India is capable of hosting all big-ticket events whether it is Olympics or any other games.
“The Delhi event fell short on legacy values. The legacy that you produce more athletes and you develop them never happened here and that is why tournaments shifted out of Delhi. The fact that such a big event happened here was not properly exploited.”
Meanwhile, Batra has backtracked on claims his tenure as president of the FIH will be extended by a year with the elections being postponed.
On Saturday, during the Special General Body Meeting of Athletics Federation of India, Batra said the FIH congress in New Delhi later this year, where elections are due to be held, had been rescheduled.
He told the meeting: “I will be president until elections in June next year.”
However, Batra, who became FIH president in 2016, yesterday clarified his initial comments telling Press Trust of India that the congress, scheduled for 28 October to 1 November, had not yet been postponed, adding: “As of now, the FIH elections will be held in October this year, there is no change in that.”
A spokesperson for the FIH said the executive board is expected to reschedule the congress during its meeting on Friday.
They said: “Similar to other sport federations, the question of maintaining the 27th FIH congress as initially planned in 2020 has already been raised and discussed by the FIH executive board, due to the uncertainty of the evolution of the global Covid-19 pandemic.
“The matter is on the agenda of the next executive board meeting, which will happen through an online video conference next week. The executive board is expected to confirm new dates for the congress during that meeting.”