With just 24 hours to go and the Sports Ministry yet to grant approval, India’s bid for the 2019 Asian Games now looks in jeopardy.
The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) had written to the Sports Ministry, seeking permission to bid for the Games but with just one day to go, the Ministry has not made up its mind yet.
“We have not decided anything yet,” a Ministry official told PTI.
An exasperated IOA official lashed out at the Ministry for its attitude and said, “This is preposterous. We sought the Ministry’s permission to bid for the event and they are still sitting on it knowing fully well that tomorrow is the deadline.
“We have not asked for any money, just sought their approval but they have not bothered to respond yet,” he said.
“We need the government guarantee and need it immediately but apparently the Joint Secretary is out of the country and we can’t help it,” he added.
Incidentally, earlier on tuesday, Sports Minister MS Gill inaugurated a cycling velodrome at the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium, where he spoke at length about the legacy issue, how to make use of all the infrastructure being built for the Commonwealth Games.
“This is strange. The Minister is concerned about the legacy while his Ministry would not give its nod for our bid.
“Fortune is being spent to build the infrastructure and the more events we have, the better. For God’s sake, these are stadiums and not tombs,” he added.
The deadline for bidding closes on Wednesday and the host country would be named next year.
Apparently, Kuala Lumpur and Dubai have already submitted letter of intention to the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA), while Philippines, Singapore and Bangkok are also likely to enter the race.
Hong Kong’s Olympic Committee also made public its intention to bid for the 2019 Games but the government there feels the 2023 edition suits them better, since it would allow them to develop international standard venues there.
Keywords: 2019 Asian Games