As India eyes 2036 Olympics, IOC outlines bidding process

The IOC also said that it would ask the countries or cities who are interested in hosting the Olympics to approach them for advice.
The logo of Indian Olympic Association, used for representative purposes only.
The logo of Indian Olympic Association, used for representative purposes only.

MUMBAI:  The roads were unusually quiet at the Bandra-Kural Complex (BKC) on Sunday. There were quite a few flags and flexes around the Jio World Convention Centre where the first day of the 141st IOC Session was taking place. There were quite a few discussions and presentations, some open to the audience, while others were behind closed doors.

However, from an Indian perspective, the buzz was all about hosting the Olympics in 2036. The storyline was determined the moment Prime Minister Narendra Modi pitched India’s interest during the Opening Ceremony on Saturday. There was no escaping the obvious question — it’s not about when but how. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) treaded as cautiously as possible whenever such questions were posed to them. The body’s director of communications, Mark Adams, who has been following the nuances of bidding for a while, along with Christian Klaue, director, corporate communications, explained in detail the process of showing interest and the next step.

To put it straight, Adams said the intent or interest has to be shown by the National Olympic Committee (NOC), in this case the Indian Olympic Association (IOA). “Theoretically, the entire bid process has to come through the National Olympic Committee of the country, in which case it’s the Indian Olympic Association (IOA). They would approach us saying that we have an interest and then we will initiate a dialogue.”

Adams also said that there are about 10 countries that have shown interest so far. One doesn’t have to announce its interest publicly. “The important thing for 2036 is that there are more than 10 countries interested. You don’t have to announce it publicly. They will contact us and show their interest and we will start the initial conversation. Then we will enter into a dialogue. Eventually, at some stage, the commission will propose it to the Executive Board (EB) saying that they would go into an open dialogue with x or y or z cities.”

The IOC also said that it would ask the countries or cities who are interested in hosting the Olympics to approach them for advice. That will help them reduce the cost considerably. They cited the case of Brisbane where the expenses were curtailed by more than 50 per cent. Adams said that since they have the expertise, they would ask the interested parties to approach IOC for advice instead of hiring different firms or companies for helping them out with projects.

“We can discuss with India too, whichever city or cities it might be, whatever interest the city or region or country or state has and what they are trying to achieve. Then, together, we would like to construct a proposal. “The first would be continuous dialogue in whatever way, accompanying and helping potential interested parties to build a good case to see if they can hold the Games,” another IOC spokesperson said.  

On sustainability of the Games, Adams said: “For Paris, 95 per cent of the venues were already in existence or temporary. In the 2028 LA Games, everything is already there. They did not have to build a single thing for the Games. But that doesn’t mean that you have a very good legacy. Paris are building the Games Village and the swimming pool and saying that they can have a very good long term legacy with those.

“If a few of the cities in India say that ‘we want to really improve our sporting infrastructure’, we are going to invest the money anyway. That won’t stop the bid. What we are working on is trying to find what works. That will be different from what works in India and Indonesia,” he said.

“There is no pre-requisite for starting any process. We are really trying to change it. We really want to work out what is best for you. Whereas in the past, we said ‘look here are the rules, you bid’. But that’s not how it works for the organisers.” On Youth Olympics Games, which the PM said India would host in 2030, Adams said the process is completely different.

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The New Indian Express