INTERVIEW | Keen to host 2032 Games, says Indian Olympic Association President Narinder Batra

Indian Olympic Association Narinder Batra, who was in the city for an event, spoke about the country's need to improve in specific events ahead of the 2024 Games. 
Indian Olympic Association president Narinder Batra (File photo| EPS)
Indian Olympic Association president Narinder Batra (File photo| EPS)

BENGALURU: The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) are still keen to bid for the 2032 Games. Even if countries like Australia, who have held Olympics previously, have expressed an interest, the IOA are still in touch with people to see if they can follow up their expression of interest with a bid.

The Association president Narinder Batra also spoke about India's need to improve in specific events ahead of the 2024 Games.

India's Olympic bid

2032, there is no bidding. That system is over. We are in touch with people. There is Australia, Spain, Holland. We will see. We have given an expression of interest. Then Covid-19 came and everything went into a standstill mode. We will be having a meeting in the first quarter of the next year. Not only for the Olympics, but for other games also. 2030 Asian Games is gone now. Could be Commonwealth Games in 30... you need to have something if you want to have the people involved. 2032, we are still keen.

On Tokyo Olympics taking shape....

The Olympics is confirmed. There is no going back. We have got enough news from IOC and others. The only thing to see now is the number of fans. Vaccinations have started in the UK and there could be priority for Olympics and athletes. Let's see. I would love to see packed stadiums but I am not the deciding authority. IOC is confident and the Japanese government has also said what the protocols are. Once the vaccinations start, relaxations should start. Flights haven't opened yet. Those things will all be relaxed after December 31 when there will be some going in and out.

What about the 2024 Olympics?

For the 2024 Olympics, what’s bothering me is athletics and swimming. Athletics has almost 50 medals, multiplied by three, it’s 150. We aren’t getting a single medal. In swimming, we don’t get a medal despite 45 medals available. I am not happy but I am working with concerned people. At least we have achieved the 'B' Qualification mark in boys but that’s not the case in girls. Cycling has 28 medals and fencing has 27 medals, gymnastics has 30 medals. But where are our athletes in these sports? If you need to increase the medals tally, these individual sports are very important.

Coorg Hockey not producing stars...

Coorg has given national players for so many years. But nowadays, I don’t see any youngsters coming up. That’s what I was discussing with VR Raghunath and SV Sunil. I asked them what the issue is. I asked if I can help them in anyway in this matter. They are tall, well-built, and add value to the team. We have always had the best of the players coming from Karnataka and Coorg. So what’s bothering me is why players aren’t coming from there now. Raghunath and Sunil have asked for six months' time and they have said players will start coming up at the junior level.

Spectators in the national meets?

IPL and ISL began when Covid was at its peak. So naturally, no spectators were allowed in those tournaments. Now things are coming back to control. But for national meets, you don’t see much crowd. Whoever is interested can come and watch. Japan has allowed spectators. They allowed 50 per cent capacity in stadiums. I think Australia are having spectators in cricket. So those parameters are set and gradually the per cent will go up. I will certainly like to be in the stadium.

On farmers' protests and athletes

I would not like to get into that. These are two different things. Awards are given to you for what you have done for the country. Farmers are totally different. It's not that I don't support the farmers, they are the ones who are the annadatas of India. So I support them. So giving back awards, I don't know how it serves the purpose. You have been honoured by the country. Respect should be given for that. I am not the one to say disown the farmers. Government has had five six meetings. There are more happening. They will sit and sort it out. Let's trust the government.

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