NEW DELHI: Imagine watching the likes of PV Sindhu, Bajrang Punia in action at the Olympics in the day, then eating Indian food, watching a Bollywood movie and dancing to Indian music at night before some yoga to help with sleep. All this and more will be possible, with India set to have its own hospitality house during the 2020 Olympics.
Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and JSW Group announced a first-of-its-kind partnership on Thursday. The conglomerate will build the structure over 2,200 sqm in close proximity to the Games Village and multiple venues in the Ariake region of Tokyo.
Known as India House, the centre will become operational by July. The official logo was unveiled by Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju in the presence of IOA president Narinder Batra, secretary-general Rajeev Mehta, JSW sports director Parth Jindal and sports CEO Mustafa Ghouse on Thursday.
Jindal shared the story behind the move. “Rio was the first Olympics I attended. I went to Copacabana beach and saw hospitality houses of many countries, but realised there wasn’t one for India. I felt India has a great chance to showcase their culture through one, that’s where the journey started.”
The IOA secretary visited Japan to see the plot in March and felt it would be a fitting way to commemorate 100 years of India’s participation in the Games. “When Parth approached IOA with the idea, we thought it could be a great initiative to mark 100 years to India’s participation in the Olympics. India House will host special meetings and dignitaries from different federations and Olympic Committees.”
The structure will be multi-level and showcase India. It will host watch parties, medal celebrations and meet-and-greet opportunities with athletes. Traditional Indian sports will be displayed, and visitors will be served a variety of Indian cuisine. A dedicated Athlete Lounge and medical facilities will be available. A Media Centre has also been planned.
The best news for all Indians planning to attend the Games — entry will be subsidised for Indian passport holders and Overseas Citizens Of India. JSW are already in talks with various other corporates and public sector units to join in this venture. A staple for developed sporting nations, this will be the first-ever such venue for India at the Olympic Games.
“It is an amazing concept. We need a team to produce a champion. We have to create the right ambience for our athletes. India House will represent the idea of India and showcase its soft power,” said Rijiju.