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  Opinion   Edit  16 Oct 2023  AA Edit | Confident India ready to pitch for 2036 Olympics

AA Edit | Confident India ready to pitch for 2036 Olympics

THE ASIAN AGE.
Published : Oct 16, 2023, 12:37 am IST
Updated : Oct 16, 2023, 12:37 am IST

The pell-mell ways of our traffic even on thoroughfares are also to be considered a hazard.

Once India accepts to play host to major sporting events it must also follow freer visa policies and travel, allowing spectators to come in freely from abroad. (PTI File Image)
 Once India accepts to play host to major sporting events it must also follow freer visa policies and travel, allowing spectators to come in freely from abroad. (PTI File Image)

India has evinced interest to bid for the 2036 Olympics. This is a dream of 140 crore Indians, according to the Prime Minister who revealed to a meeting of the International Olympic Committee meeting in Mumbai that India is keen to host the multidisciplinary Olympic Games.

The Olympics are the ultimate in the hosting of sporting extravaganzas. Along with the soccer World Cup, it is the biggest quadrennial sporting spectacle in terms of attracting global competitors and a universal audience for sport.

Hosting the Olympics is not a bed of roses, especially in the modern era when costs of preparing a host city — a metropolis hosts the event rather than a country — and running the fortnight long event — are rising by the year. Add the costs of improving city infrastructure and you are staring at a phenomenal figure.

The Tokyo Olympics, postponed by a year due to Covid and because of which it could not admit spectators, cost $15.4 billion, but only a tiny fraction of it came from government coffers. India’s bid for, say, the capital New Delhi or NCR, would have to be wholly funded by the Centre.

The spinoffs of hosting the Olympics are manifold — most of all, in tourism. The prestige of being capable of hosting such an event — Tokyo conducted 339 medal events in 33 sports at 42 venues — is, of course, incalculable and announces the arrival of a nation with organisational capabilities on the international scene.

The Brisbane Olympics in the 2032 Games is being funded from private sources. India may be up against the likes of Mexico and Poland in bidding for the 2036 event, which might seem far away now, but 12 years is not an extravagant lead time for a city to be ready to take on an Olympics.

It is hard to compute the costs-to-benefits ratio of hosting an Olympics. That India feels ready to host the sporting spectacle is itself an acknowledgement of national self-confidence. This is a new, confident India that has scaled up its ambitions to say it considers itself worthy of an Olympic host.

Only time will tell if money to the tune of around $20 billion or Rs 1.66 lakh crores would be well spent, though, considering India is the fifth largest economy now, the estimated expenditure is not to be considered overwhelming.

The progress Indian athletes have shown as recently as in the Tokyo Olympics, where Neeraj Chopra was the first Indian to win a track and field gold medal since 1896, and at the Hangzhou Asian Games might have also impelled the government to think of this 2036 bid.

On the flip side, the hosting of the Commonwealth Games in 2010 showed up the impediments caused by the Indian way of living, besides the canker of corruption in the building of infrastructure that had seeped so much down the system as to affect the quality of construction.

The pell-mell ways of our traffic even on thoroughfares are also to be considered a hazard. For instance, to host the G-20 summit, India needed to shut down half the capital city for at least three days.

Once India accepts to play host to major sporting events it must also follow freer visa policies and travel, allowing spectators to come in freely from abroad, which wasn’t the case with World Cup cricket to which Pakistan fans were denied access.

The move to take on the Games a dozen years from now reflects the positive national mood prevailing in the moment that goes way beyond the fractious and loud politics.

Tags: olympics, aa edit