Ramachandran: Olympics should be just one part of Indian hosting strategy
A proposed bid by India to stage the Olympic Games in 2032 should be the culmination of a programme that could also include hosting the Asian Games in 2030, the Asian Beach Games in 2020, the Olympic Council of Asia’s general assembly in the same year and the International Olympic Committee’s Session in 2021, according to N. Ramachandran, president of the Indian Olympic Association.
Ramachandran, who said that the country's government has already agreed to consider an Olympic bid, told Reuters that the aim is to use the hosting programme as a catalyst for the growth of Olympic sports in India.
Ramachandran said that the government should begin the process, adding: “From my part, I am telling them if you bid, I will make sure you get it.”
Although Ramachandran said that he has already discussed India’s prospects of hosting an Olympic Games with International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach, he added: “You cannot take a decision today and say, ‘I want to host an Olympic Games tomorrow’. It is an eight-year process. So you have to start now.
“If you are looking at anything it's 2032. That will give you 10 years to improve the infrastructure and you will have a decision [to make] in the next four to six years.”
Ramachandran insisted that the costs involved in hosting the Olympics were not a barrier for the country, adding: “India is one of the emerging economies. Even assuming you spend $12 billion on an Olympic event, $6 billion will be given to you by the IOC.
“What is $6 billion over a period of eight years for a country which has the size of the economy which India has today?
“Not many countries today wish to host the Olympics. China has already had everything possible that can be hosted.”
India suffered some embarrassment over Delhi’s hosting of the Commonwealth Games in 2010, which left a legacy of corruption charges and other controversies behind it, but Ramachandran said: “We have learnt from our mistakes. You see the South Asian Games [in 2016] that was hosted in Guwahati. Nobody said anything.
“We should stick to what we know best - technical conduct of the games. Even when we hosted the Commonwealth Games in India, [the IOC] praised the technical conduct of the event. And we also did very well in the medals tally.”
Ramachandran concluded: “We have very clearly advised the government that if you are just going to send your athletes to participate in international tournaments, that alone will not be sufficient for sports to grow in India.
“You also need to conduct multi-sports events in India. Because then you will have more referees, more officials, your administrators can get into international sports federations.
“If you are on an international body then you can help your athletes more.”
Earlier, Ramachandran had told reporters in Chennai: “The government in principle has agreed to look into the possibility of bidding for the Olympics in 2032. It is at a very preliminary stage. We need to get all the approvals.”
In March, the IOA said that India would not submit a bid to take over hosting the 2022 Commonwealth Games from Durban, which was stripped of the games after having failed to meet criteria demanded by the Commonwealth Games Federation.