The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) has prepared an extravagant wish list heading into the new decade. If things go the way IOA hopes, India would end up hosting the following five major sporting events over nine years: the 2023 International Olympic Committee (IOC) Congress; the 2026 Youth Olympics; the 2026 or 2030 Commonwealth Games; the 2030 Asian Games; and the most ambitious of them all — the 2032 Olympic Games.
Like a high school graduate who applies at multiple colleges hoping to get admission in at least one, the IOA too has set out to bid for all major multi-discipline events. Depending on how the bidding process goes, they might get all, they might get some, or — an unlikely scenario — they might get none.
This comes after the IOA, in its general body meeting on Monday, decided to throw its hat in the ring to bring the CWG to India in either 2026 or 2030. The bidding formalities will begin in 2020, exactly 10 years after Delhi hosted the controversial, scam-tainted CWG.
How it came to this, no one knows. For, in the last 18 months India had constantly threatened to boycott the 2022 Commonwealth Games because shooting was not included in the programme. The IOA president Narinder Batra even claimed that the CWG were a “waste of time and money” and suggested India should “withdraw from the Games altogether”. The Olympic body’s secretary-general Rajiv Mehta, at the same time, proposed that India should bid for the 2026 edition.
On Monday, the general body agreed that India should consider hosting the CWG again in either 2026 or 2030. And at the same time, the IOA confirmed that India will not pull out of the 2022 Games in Birmingham after the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) said it would host a Commonwealth Shooting Championship in March 2022 at its own expense. Batra said they are also sending a proposal to host a Commonwealth Championship for archery, the other sport where India considers itself strong but is not included in the Games programme.
That means in the coming decade, India’s tag of being a sports-hosting nation will be cemented. Apart from the multi-discipline Games, India is also hosting the International Hockey Federation (FIH) Congress in October/November 2020, T20 Cricket World Cup in 2021, hockey and cricket World Cups in 2023. The All India Football Federation is keen to host the Asian under-23 championship and women’s Asian Cup in 2022, a FIFA Futsal World Cup in 2024 and the Asian Cup 2027.
It is believed the national sports federations have been told to bid for their respective World and Asian Championships in 2022 to mark the country’s 75th Independence Day.
Big ticket, bigger budget
All of this will come at a cost. The 2023 IOC session, which will be significant because the host of 2030 Winter Olympics is expected to be chosen during the meeting, is likely to cost around $10 million (approximately Rs 71 crore). The estimated budget for 2018 Youth Olympics, which were held in Argentina’s capital Buenos Aires, was $200 million (roughly Rs 1,500 crore).
The 2018 Asian Games cost Indonesia approximately $3.2 billion (about Rs 22, 810 crore) while Gold Coast hosted the CWG earlier that year cost the organisers $1.2 billion (approximately Rs 8,551 crore). Japan, reportedly, could end up spending more than $26 billion (around Rs 1 lakh 85 thousand crore) on the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics; considerably higher than the $7.3 billion originally projected.
Each event that the IOA is bidding for will come with its own set of requirements. For instance, the programme for the Youth Olympics will be vastly different to the CWG if they are both held in 2026. Similarly, the Asian Games is almost double the size of CWG, both in terms of events and participation, in case India hosts them in 2030. The Olympics, as all previous host cities will attest, will be a different beast altogether given its sheer size.
So far, the IOA has not indicated the host cities for these events. It is learnt that the Youth Olympics will either be held in either Delhi or Bhubaneswar. Batra, who has been involved in the initial talks, had recently virtually ruled out Mumbai – the third city in the running – since the infrastructure there will have to be constructed from scratch.
The government, so far, has not committed. Earlier this year, sports minister Kiren Rijiju said the country should be well prepared rather than creating an “embarrassing situation.” It is learnt that the government is playing a wait-and-watch game, at least with respect to hosting the 2032 Olympics, and taking note of other bidders. In case the government feels that India’s bid will be undermined by another strong player, they might hold off for the time being.
So far, the only confirmed bid has come from Australia, which have named Brisbane as the candidate city. The other likely contenders are Indonesia, Germany and a joint bid from North and South Korea. While the host for 2030 Asian Games and 2032 Olympics will be decided in the middle of the next decade, a decision on the host of 2026 CWG is likely to be taken in 2020.
A Host of events
In the coming decade, India will host:
— 2020 International Hockey Federation Congress
— 2020 women’s under-17 football World Cup
— 2021 men’s boxing worlds
— 2021 World T20
— 2022 Commonwealth Shooting Championship
— 2023 ODI Cricket World Cup
— 2023 Hockey World Cup
…and likely to bid for:
— 2022 Asian under-23 football championship
— 2022 women’s Asian Cup
— 2023 IOC Session
— 2024 FIFA Futsal World Cup
— 2026 Youth Olympics
— 2026 or 2030 CWG
— 2027 Men’s Asian Cup
— 2030 Asian Games
— 2032 Olympic Games
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