The ball has been set rolling as India have been handed the privilege of hosting the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) session after 40 years. While Mumbai’s position to host the 2023 session will need to be ratified at the 136th IOC session in Tokyo, what cannot be ignored is the role that has been played by IOC member Nita Ambani in helping the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) fulfill the dream of a billion.
India offering to host the 2023 IOC session and Nita Ambani expressing her dream to see India host major sporting events like the Olympics in the future, saw the rise of a new dawn in the country.
With Tokyo Olympics just round the corner and a strong Indian contingent once again looking to vie for podium spots, it is in the horizon that someday India would also host Olympics on home soil.
The premise was set when the formal bid submission to host 2023 IOC session was completed by Indian Olympic Association (IOA) President Narinder Batra and IOC member Ambani to IOC chief Thomas Bach on the sidelines of the governing body’s 134th session in Lausanne, Switzerland last year in June.
India last hosted an IOC session in 1983 in the national capital.
Founder Chairperson, Reliance Foundation, Nita Ambani was elected as an IOC member in 2016 and she said the first step towards realising her dream to see India become a sporting superpower would be to bid for the Olympic session in 2023. Notably, the IOA at its Annual General Body meeting last year had reportedly made a wishlist in which it said it would be looking at hosting the 2026 Youth Olympics and the Olympic Games in 2032.
“We have never had an Olympic Games presence in India. We are No. 5 in GDP. We have seen Games going to Tokyo, Australia, Japan but never come to India. My dream is to start little by little and we realise this dream for the generations to come,” Nita Ambani had said in an interview.
“It’s wonderful to see us now doing well, especially our girls doing well at the Olympics. But what about bringing the Games to India? The first step is to bid for the Olympics session in 2023. After that, I would love to bid for the Youth Olympics. That would be a game-changer.
“If we get the Youth Olympics to India, we can change the lives of many children. That will be our gateway to the Summer Olympics. It’s win-win for both, for the Olympics and for India,” she had said.
The IOC Session Evaluation Committee travelled to India in October last year and saw the Jio World Center as a venue with the potential to host the 2023 meeting.
India have hosted the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup and will now host the 2020 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup. India have also hosted the Asian Games twice, in 1951 and 1982 in the national capital besides staging the 2010 Commonwealth Games in the same city.