New Delhi: IOC chief Thomas Bach calling on Prime Minister Narendra Modi later this month signals that the world body wants to see India as a major sporting power capable of hosting Olympic Games, said IOC honorary member Randhir Singh today. “I spoke to IOC president earlier in the day and he is very positive about his India visit, especially the meeting with our dynamic Prime Minister. The IOC is very well aware of India’s potential and Bach’s visit will focus on the growth of sports in the country,” Randhir told PTI adding that Bach will be coming to India in the last week of April.
A buzz has been created that IOC boss’s visit may coincide with India offering to bid for the 2024 Olympics. Asked whether he sees India bidding for the Summer Games, Randhir said: “Well that’s one of the things the two leaders will discuss and then it boils down to what the government wants. As I said before, the IOC want to see India a sporting powerhouse.”
Brazil’s Rio de Janerio will host the next Olympics in 2016, while Japan’s capital Tokyo will play host to the 2020 Games. The interested cities for 2024 Games will have to submit ‘Application Files and Guarantee Letters’ from their respective governments to the IOC latest by January next year. After a Working Group assesses the applications, the IOC Executive Board will announce the shortlisted cities around May next year. The world body will then vote to select the host city during the 130th IOC Session in Lima, Peru, on September 15, 2015.
On the rare prospect of two Asian countries hosting back-to-back Olympics, the long-time sports administrator Randhir said it all depends on the intent of the government. “Our Prime Minister is a go-getter and if he thinks that sports should get a huge push in the country, then there is no better way to promote sport than organising Olympic Games. “India has a large youth population and sport should be an important part of our culture besides being a health way of life.”
India finished 55th in London Olympics medals tally with two silver and four bronze medals. Asian giant China finished second with 88 medals including 38 gold medals. Randhir said Bach will also meet various other officials including those from the Indian Olympic Association.