Source: The Hitavada      Date: 23 Apr 2018 10:16:33

IT’S HEARTENING to note that Chief of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) Mr. Narinder Batra has expressed the desire to bid for three big ticket international sports events -- 2026 Youth Olympics, 2030 Asian Games and 2032 summer Olympic Games. Mr. Batra expressed such a desire during his joint press conference recently with the President of International Olympic Committee (IOC) Mr. Thomas Bach during the latter’s visit to Delhi. Mr. Bach appreciated Mr. Batra’s desire to host these big events but at the same time he made it clear that it is too early to say with certainty as to who would get the big events as countries like Germany and Australia have already put their hats in the ring for hosting the 2032 summer Olympic Games.

And that is only the beginning. There may be many more contenders as the date for the bidding nears. Besides, Germany and Australia already have huge experience and the necessary infrastructure to host such big events. So India will be up against such countries that have already gained much experience and built basic infrastructure for organising these mega events. It requires years of meticulous planning with finest details being taken care of, huge resources, governmental and societal support, build-up of sports culture throughout the country to raise domestic sporting standards to world class to be among the top table-toppers.

India, no doubt, has the experience of organising Asian Games. That was nearly three decades ago and the Commonwealth Games a few years ago. Mismanagement in the preparations of the Commonwealth Games infrastructure had nearly marred the reputation of the country with allegations of corruption flying high and thick. It required the personal intervention of the then Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh to ensure that the facilities get ready by the date of the opening of the Commonwealth Games. That was an unsavoury experience for the country.

However, notwithstanding that unsavoury experience, Mr. Batra’s enthusiasm for holding such prestigious international events must be appreciated and serious efforts should be made to prepare the country for entering the bidding process in the first place. That itself will enable the country to have a road-map, a blueprint for the future development of sports in the country. As rightly said by Mr. Bach, India has the capacity to host such events but that has to be backed by serious efforts to exploit the potential. Such events help build up a conducive atmosphere for promotion of sports culture. There is need to lay stress on the role of the society in the promotion of sports as it is the outlook of the people that will have greater bearing.