India to lobby hard for 2036 Olympics bid during Paris Games

Olympics rings
The Olympics rings are seen on the Pulse building, the headquarters of the Paris 2024 Olympics organising committee, at Saint-Denis near Paris. Photo: Reuters/Stephanie Lecocq

New Delhi: India's sports administrators would be "lobbying" hard during the upcoming Paris Olympics to brighten the country's chances of hosting the 2036 Games where they will push for the inclusion of indigenous disciplines like yoga, kho kho and kabaddi if their ambitious bid is successful.

The Sports Authority of India's Mission Olympic Cell (MOC) presented its detailed report on the measures needed for a successful bid to new Sports Minister Mansukh Mandaviya on Thursday.

In this document, MOC has identified six disciplines, including yoga, kho kho, kabaddi, chess, T20 cricket and squash for inclusion in the 2036 Olympics if the country gets to host the quadrennial extravaganza.

"We met the new Sports Minister yesterday and handed him the report. The minister said he will need a few days to go through it. But he asked us to prepare another report on how sports can be a career option in the country, how to build interest among youth, how to bring private players into sports," a senior member of the MOC said on conditions of anonymity.

"We are way ahead in preparing for the Olympic bid which will take place after Paris. But we will have to do a lot of lobbying with IOC (International Olympic Committee) during the Paris Games and we are completely prepared," the member added.

Inclusion of host country preferences will be discussion for much later as the hosting rights of the Games have not been finalised. The decision is likely only after the IOC has a new president after elections next year.

If at all, India's bid is successful, the proposed events will first have to be introduced as demonstration events in the 2032 Brisbane Games before getting a final go ahead.

During the IOC's Congress in Mumbai last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi revealed India's ambition to host the Games in 2036, stating that the administration would "leave no stone unturned" in bringing the showpiece to the country for the first time.

The MOC member said that while the inclusion of these sports would help in enhancing India's medals tally in 2036 Olympics, but the road ahead is not easy as the country will have to extend all possible support in building the base for these disciplines in a minimum number of participating nations.

"The Sports Ministry asked the MOC to prepare a detailed report about our readiness for 2036 Olympics, including identifying new sporting disciplines which a host nation can pitch for, how to control doping menace, bringing more accountability in the working of the national federations and identifying private entities who are interested in investing in sports," said the member.

"We researched in detail and identified six sports in which are strong. We are masters in yoga, chess, cricket, and kho kho is our traditional sport. So these sports will enhance our medal chances," the member said.

"We have already submitted our report to the ministry which will take it up with the PMO in due course of time."

As per the IOC rules, the host Organising Committee of an Olympics can propose for the inclusion of one or more sports, which are popular in the region but that particular event has to be played in all five continents of the world.

Also taken into account is the history of the sport and the ease with which broadcasters can telecast it.

The MOC member said it won't be easy to win the Games hosting rights as India will have to fight it out against countries like Qatar, Saudi Arabia, China, Hungary, Italy, Germany, Denmark, Canada, Spain, the United Kingdom, Poland, Mexico, South Korea, Egypt, Chile, Turkey and Indonesia.

"But these indigenous sports will have to be introduced as demonstration events in 2032 Olympics. Besides India will have to extend support and ensure that a minimum number of countries, which is around 70 plus, have federations in place there.

"We will also have to extend coaching support to them and help them in organising international tournaments. So plenty of task is still left," the MOC member pointed out.

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