New Delhi: Terming speculation on India’s possible bid for the 2024 Olympic Games as “surprising”, International Olympic Committee head Thomas Bach on Monday said that the country was not in the race as “Prime Minister Narendra Modi did not propose it” in their meeting here, on the day.
On his first visit to the country since being elected IOC chief in 2013, Bach met the PM at the latter’s official residence here. Bach, who hails from Germany and is a former Olympian fencer, said that he was surprised by the speculation that India may bid for 2024 Games.
“We were aware of the speculation,” said Bach after the meeting. “We were a bit surprised about this 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.”
He said that he checked it with PM Modi, who said the country would rather host the Olympics “after full preparation and after having expertise”. “He (the PM) also considered that launching a successful bid for 2024 (before deadline of September 15) may be difficult,” Bach said.
“For now India needs to build its athletes, find unity among themselves so that you can field a strong team at the Rio Olympics.” Bach also held separate meetings with officials of the Indian Olympic Association and the sports ministry earlier in the day, besides attending a lunch hosted by sports minister Sarbananda Sonowal.
The IOA members, in fact, had requested Bach to convey to the Prime Minister their opposition to the controversial Sports Code which the government wants to implement. IOA officials had told Bach that the Code infringes on the autonomy of the national Olympic bodies under the Olympic Charter.
The 61-year-old, who will fly to Australia from here, said that a tripartite Memorandum of Understanding was signed among the Government of India, the IOA and the IOC under which the IOC would provide assistance with respect to “coaching, sports technology, training of sports administrators and coaches.”...