Wednesday, November 17, 2010

India can still bid for the 2019 Asian Games says OCA chief

Indian Olympic AssociationImage via Wikipedia
The Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) is pitching for India to host the 2019 Asian Games for more than one reason.
Realising the importance of India as a growing and dominant sporting nation in the region, OCA president Sheikh Ahmad Al Fahad Al Sabah said he and his colleagues in the OCA will extend all possible help to the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) to bid and host the Asian Games in 2019.
"For us in the OCA, India is very important because it hosted the first Games in 1951 and when OCA was formed in 1981, New Delhi again hosted the Games in 1982. Moreover, you have shown the world what you can do by hosting the Commonwealth Games successfully last month. I congratulate you and your government for that," said the OCA chief.
Asked if India could still bid to host the 2019 Games, he said there was still some time left for the IOA to complete the bid formalities.
The OCA, it is learnt, has given time till February 2011. He, however, assured that India will get a wholehearted and unstinted support from other nations in the region. "We will definitely ensure that," added Al Sabah.
This has, of course, given a flicker of hope for the IOA to complete the unfinished task of submitting papers relating to the bid to the sports ministry which wanted a well-planned bid document that would answer all questions.
The OCA chief was cryptic in his message on political interference, saying that his job was to manage sport and he would not like to speak on what the government or political masters think.
"I can give only one example and that is about Kuwait. Since we are part of the Olympic movement, our job is to follow the IOC principles. My team is here and participating under the OCA banner," he said.
He also seemed to be going out of the way to help India on another front. To a question whether cricket would be taken off the Games, like the next hosts Incheon (Korea) wanted, he said: "The General Assembly unanimously passed a resolution not to accede to Incheon's request.
We decided to have all 28 Olympic disciplines and seven more regional sports, including T20 cricket," he said.
The Sheikh, while agreeing that the Indian cricket teams' (men and women) presence would have helped the cause of the sport, also hoped they would do so in the next Games. "I am thankful to them for making all the early spadework to get cricket included in the Games. I hope they would definitely make it to the next Games."

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