IOA keen to bid for 2019 Asian Games

The Indian Olympic Association on Tuesday expressed a strong desire to stage the 2019 Asian Games here following the withdrawal of Vietnam capital Hanoi and is banking on the next central government to approve the plan, IOA Secretary General Rajeev Mehta said.

Mehta said in case India hosts the 2019 Asian Games, the IOA will not exercise financial powers and will only organise the multi-sporting event, a remark which appeared to stem from the experience of 2010 CWG corruption scandal.

“We want to host 2019 Asian Games after Vietnam’s withdrawal. We will take a final decision in IOA General Body Meeting which will be held most likely next month. We are waiting for the new government to be formed and hoping to get its approval,” Mehta told PTI in an interview here.

“We have all the infrastructure in Delhi. I feel it’s a matter of getting government approval,” he added.

Hanoi was chosen in 2012 to host the 18th Asian Games ahead of Indonesia’s Surabaya but last month, the Vietnamese capital withdrew due to economic pressures. Indonesia has expressed its willingness to step in as a replacement and a final decision on the host city will be decided on September 20 during the Incheon Asian Games.

India had bid for hosting this year’s Asian Games but had lost out to Incheon in 2007.Asked if the IOA has sounded out Olympic Council of Asia expressing India’s willingness, Mehta said, “We are having communication through unofficial channels with OCA. The important thing is to get government approval. So let the new government be formed first.”

He said in case India hosts the Asiad, IOA will not exercise financial powers but will only be involved in organisational and technical matters.

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