Free Press Journal

India not to bid for 2024 Olympics, PM didn’t propose it: Thomas Bach


New Delhi: International Olympic Committee President Bach today laid to rest speculations about India’s possible bid for 2024 Olympics, saying that Prime Minister Narendra Modi did not propose it in their meeting here. Bach also said that IOC thought that it would be too soon for the country to host a successful Games as the national Olympic body has come out of suspension only last year.

Visiting India for the first time after being elected as IOC chief in 2013, Bach met the Prime Minister at his official residence here this evening during his brief one-day stay in the country. He also had separate meetings with top officials of the Indian Olympic Association and the Sports Ministry earlier in the day, besides attending a lunch hosted by Sports Minister Sarbananda Sonowal at a city hotel.

Bach, who hails from Germany and himself an Olympian fencer, said at a press conference that he was surprised by the speculation in the media that India may bid for 2024 Olympic Games.

He clarified that he checked it with the Prime Minister, who said the country would rather host the Olympics “after full preparation and after having expertise”. “We were aware of the speculation (about India’s possible bid for 2024 Games). We were a bit surprised about this speculation because we thought it may be too quick for India to host a successful Olympic Games. I am happy that India has come out of suspension last year but the IOA has to find its feet,” Bach said.

“So, we checked with the Prime Minister (regarding the possible bid) and he said he wants to be well prepared and have expertise before doing that. He (the PM) also considered that launching a successful bid for 2024 (before deadline of September 15) may be difficult,” Bach said, elaborating about his meeting with the Prime Minister, which he described as “excellent”.

Bach, who will fly to Australia tonight from here, informed that a tripartite Memorandum of Understanding was signed among the Government of India, the IOA and the IOC under which the world sports governing body will give assistance with respect to “coaching, sports technology, training of sports administrators and coaches” and establish bilateral cooperation in sports.

He also said that the Prime Minister extended an invitation to hold one of the meetings of the IOC in India in future and to have “bilateral contact with him to further the development of sports in India”.

“We will consider all these and we hope my visit will give a boost to sports in India and to the athletes. We hope that India will field a strong team in 2016 Rio Olympic Games,” said the IOC chief.