India clearly rules out bid for 2024 Olympics

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Thomas Bach : IOC Chief
Thomas Bach : IOC Chief

There was lot of speculation  with the  visit by  International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach to India. And much was anticipated in his meeting  with  Prime Minister Narendra Modi . But the meeting did not come out with something big. What was arrived at  was that India will not bid for 2024 Olympic Games.Bach confirmed the news as he stated, “India will not bid for 2024 Olympic Games as Prime Minister Narendra Modi did not propose it.”

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. Bach met Modi during his one-day whirlwind visit to discuss ways to take Indian sports forward.

“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 added.Bach, who is on his first visit to India after taking over as the head of IOC in 2013.

Bach, who will fly to Australia, 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. Boston, Hamburg and Rome are already declared bidders for 2024 Olympics.

Earlier  IOA members had requested Bach to convey to the Prime Minister their opposition to the controversial Sports Code which the government wants to implement. The IOA members had told Bach that the Code infringes on the autonomy of the national Olympic bodies under the Olympic Charter. The IOA members had also said that the Sports Ministry’s various directives on the selection of teams for multi-sporting events amounted to interference in their functioning.

Asked if he had raised this issue and what was the Prime Minister’s response, he said, “I am happy that the Prime Minister said that he would respect autonomy and would be happy in having autonomous partners not only in sports but also in society at large.”

“We considered good governance and autonomy as two sides of the same coin. There was an agreement between the government and the IOA last year and I hope there is mutual respect between NOCs and the government,” he added.

IOC President Bach recently met French President Francois Hollande to discuss Paris’ prospects to bid for the 2024 Olympics. He has also visited several countries recently and met the Prime Ministers of Hungary and Kosovo and the Presidents of Serbia, Ukraine and Russia to discuss issues related with the Olympics Reform Agenda 2020.

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