Thursday, October 16, 2008

'Kalmadi is thinking about 2020'

Says IOC president Jacques Rogge on India's much-talked-about bid

Suhrid Barua, Pune Mirror, October 16, 2008

Pune: The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president Suresh Kalmadi is using every possible platform to crank up the seriousness of India bidding for the 2020 Olympics. And what better stage than to furthering the same in front of International Olympic Committee (IOC) Jacques Rogge. The IOC top official was in the city to officially inaugurate the Olympic Values Education Programme and Indian National Club Games.IOA president Suresh Kalmadi, who wore a nervous look throughout the function, talked of the importance of cashing in on the Beijing 'high'.
"We won our first-ever individual Olympic gold medal in Beijing, we won our first boxing medal in Olympics. So the momentum given by our athletes should be vigorously taken forward by intensifying our Olympic movement," remarked IOA president Suresh Kalmadi, while carefully choosing his words.He, however, stopped short of saying anything about the 2020 Olympics bid, but didn't miss out on the opportunity of taking a dig at the hype and hoopla surrounding cricket. "It's a land of cricket and cricket but time has come for Olympic sports to take centrestage now that we've amassed our best medal haul in Beijing," he said.
Even as all and sundry waited expectantly to hear from Rogge about India's 2020 bid, the Belgian only acknowledged India's image as host of big-ticket events."India has successfully hosted the Asian Games (1951 and 1982), Afro-Asian Games (2003) and now the Commonwealth Youth Games. It has carved a niche for itself as competent host of big events."
After striking the play-it-safe card, Rogge finally opened up regarding the 2020 bid. "I think Kalmadi is thinking about it for a long time now. All I can is that I expect a sincere, solid bid from India when it happens in 2011. I've nothing more to say on this," he added.
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