Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Russia says ‘happy to help’ India bid for 2036 Olympics

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WHILE IT continues to be ostracised from world sport following the invasion of Ukraine, Russia has offered to help India in hosting the 2036 Olympics if the bid receives backing from the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

Russia’s Sports Minister Oleg Matytsin said his country’s “specialists will be happy to help in organising the Olympic Games in India”.

Although no concrete official move has been made, India has repeatedly expressed interest to host the 2036 Games with Ahmedabad as the central city.

Last year, Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president Narinder Batra proposed a unique multi-city bid that will be centred around Ahmedabad as the key destination. Two months ago, Gujarat’s Advocate General Kamal Trivedi told the Gujarat High Court that “we are preparing for the Olympics of 2036” and that the “Olympic Committee will visit in 2025”.

On Wednesday, during his visit to India, Matytsin told RIA Sport that Russia was “very happy” that India is hoping to host the Games.

“If such a dream as hosting the Olympic Games comes true, then this will be another criterion for the stable development of the country. We are always open to interaction and ready to share our experience of hosting the Olympic Games, and we have done this many times, so if a decision is made, then Russian specialists will be happy to help in organising the Olympic Games in India,” Matytsin was quoted as saying.

Russian state media also reported that Matytsin put forward the proposal of a friendly football match between Russia, ranked 35 in the world, and 104-ranked India if the latter expressed interest.


Reaching out

At this early stage, Russia’s offer is mostly symbolic. But it indicates its eagerness to bolster bilateral ties — especially with India emerging as a major buyer of Russia’s oil amid sanctions.

The Minister is leading a Russian delegation to the International Convention Against Doping in Sport in New Delhi and held a meeting with Sports Minister Anurag Thakur on Wednesday. Russian Ambassador Denis Alipov was also present at the meeting.

Sports Ministry sources said the ministers explored areas of cooperation in sports, including the exchange of technical knowledge between players and coaches.

Former Croatia president Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic heads the IOC commission that will select the host city for the 2036 Games, with a decision to be taken between 2025 and 2029.

Incidentally, Russia was one of the countries that showed interest in hosting the 2036 Olympics. However, after its invasion of Ukraine, the country has been shunned by the world’s sporting bodies.

Matytsin told RIA Sports that “as of May 25, international sports organisations cancelled/ postponed 186 international sporting events planned in Russia in 2022-2023, including 36 major international sporting events”.

In May, London Mayor Sadiq Khan was quoted as saying by Daily Mail that he was in talks with the International Olympic Committee to bring the Olympics back to the British capital in 2036 or 2040. Other cities in the fray are Istanbul, Doha, Jakarta, and Cairo, apart from a potential joint bid from Berlin and Tel Aviv.

India had twice thrown its hat in the ring to host the Olympics — for 2024 and 2032 — but could not put together a bid. With the hosts for the next three Olympics already decided — Paris in 2024, Los Angeles in 2028 and Brisbane in 2032 — the next opportunity will only come in 2036.

Ahmedabad has already started investing in infrastructure. In February, during the inauguration of the Narendra Modi stadium, Union Home Minister Amit Shah had said the complex is capable of hosting the Olympics.

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