Now, Delhi to host South Asian Games!

OUR BUREAU New Delhi

Yet to recover from the tainted Commonwealth Games, New Delhi plans to host the 2012 South Asian Games, tentatively planned between October and November next

year.

The Indian Olympic Association, which is headed by senior BJP leader Vijay Kumar Malhotra ever since its chief Suresh Kalmadi was arrested and put in jail, wants the games to be held in Delhi, though Ranchi and Chennai have also offered to host them.

” Both Chennai and Ranchi have the infrastructure.

But we felt that since Delhi has hosted the Commonwealth Games, it is more prepared,” Malhotra said, claiming that he has secured an in- principle nod from a reluctant Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit.

Dikshit, however, wants her governments role clearly defined if it is to organize the games, which are expected to attract over 2000 players, as she says the CWG controversies are still nagging her and she does not want any more.

The IOA has pegged the cost of organising the Games at Rs 50- 60 crores but the actual sum can go up, as was the case in the Commonwealth Games, though Malhotra says the cost can be kept down as the CWG facilities are already there for use.

A ticklish issue is the funding. The IOA, a conglomeration of various sports bodies in India, does not have money to host the event. Delhi chief secretary P K Tripathi has communicated to the Sport Ministry that ” the government of Delhi would be willing to help in organising the ( South Asian) Games, provided the Government of India is willing to bear the expenditure.” Malhotra is quite clear.

The IOA does not want to get any blame for anything going awry. ” We would be more than happy to hand over ( organisation of the event) if the Sports Ministry handles the finances,” he said.

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