Over the years, bidding for the Olympic Games has turned into a spectacle with sport within sport. Sometimes, the intricate and cumbersome bidding process turns it into a nuisance, something obscene and definitely avoidable. Because of the money and politics involved, there are layers of intrigue and deceit as well. The fascinating games within make it more interesting than the Games itself. With the Games turning into symbol of a nation’s growth and power, bidding has become all the more intense by nations who have not hosted it as yet.
India, like Brazil and China, is thinking about hosting the Olympics in 2032. But somehow if the bid fails, India is hopeful of putting up a successful bid for the Asian Games in 2030. It had hosted the Commonwealth Games in 2010 and the South Asian Games in 2015, but in terms of quality of contests and participation it was nowhere near the 2010 CWG or the 1982 Asian Games. At best, it could be called an extended National Games.
Recently, Sports Minister Vijay Goel had a meeting with the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president N Ramachandran, where they discussed among other sporting matters, the possibility of hosting multi-discipline events like the Asian Games and the Olympics. This time, both stakeholders sounded more serious. They are not thinking about hosting something in six-seven years (like the CWG), but in the next 14-15 years. If sources in the ministry and the IOA are to be believed, they are looking at Asian Games in 2030 or Olympic Games in 2032. “Because it’s too late to bid for the 2028 Olympics,” says one.
In terms of expenditure, Asian Games in 2030 seems to be a possibility. It should not cost more than `1000 crore and if hosted in Delhi, organisers need a few indoor stadiums in place.
The main challenge for them, however, will be to improve the standard of sports in the country. Taking so much time seems prudent too. This will help the nation build sporting prowess and by the time of hosting the Olympic Games, at least it will not end up winning just a few medals.
If they are really committed to the cause, this will give them an opportunity to spend money on grassroots programmes, which at most times is just left to rot. Maximum is spent on elite athletes and there is hardly anything left for the youngsters. If the U-17 World Cup turns out to be a success in October this year, then India will definitely take up the Asian Games bid in 2030, if not the Olympic Games in 2032.