New Indian Olympic chief mulls bid for 2032 Olympics

NEW DELHI: India’s new Olympics chief Narinder Batra has vowed to make bids to stage the 2032 Olympics, 2030 Asian Games or 2026 Commonwealth Games, saying the country must “think big”.

Batra, who is also the International Hockey Federation (FIH) president, said after winning the Indian Olympic Association vote late Thursday that an approach would be made to the Indian government for financial backing.

“Once I settle down, the IOA will take a proposal to the government to host the 2032 Olympics, 2030 Asiad and 2026 CWG. We should think big but hosting these Games depends on the government as they will sanction the funds,” he said.

“I have always dreamed big and this is my personal view that India should host these big events.”

When New Delhi staged the 2010 Commonwealth Games, they were marked by construction delays, failing infrastructure and accusations of financial mismanagement.

But India is now one of the world’s fastest growing major economies, and international sporting chiefs say it must be a contender to hold major events.

India’s sporting relations with arch-rival neighbour Pakistan could prove a sticking point, however.

Batra said he opposed any bilateral contests against Pakistan. The two dispute Kashmir territory, while India accuses Pakistan of supporting “terrorism”.

“As far as multilateral events organised by the international federations are concerned, we have to play Pakistan. But I think it is not possible to play them in bilateral events unless relations between the two countries are improved.

“Moreover their behaviour at the border will have to improve. Everybody in India is an Indian first.”

As India’s hockey chief, Batra suspended matches against Pakistan after a 2014 Champions Trophy semi-final which Pakistan won. India accused the Pakistani players of making obscene gestures to the Indian crowd.

Batra overwhelmingly won the contest for the IOA presidency, but a Delhi court is still to review the vote.

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