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Friday, September 16, 2005

When will India host the Olympics?

As China gears up for the 2008 Olympics, one wonders whether an Indian city will ever get an opportunity to host one. I think it's inevitable, the only question is when? We will be hosting the coming Commonwealth Games, but probably it's one of the least watched global sporting events across the world.
First there is the question of whether it makes sense to host an Olympic. Not all Olympics have been profitable if a detailed costing is done. But hosting an Olympic is more than a pure profit-loss game because of the prestige associated with it.
So when are we likely to emerge as hosts? I think the following factors are critical to have a strong bid- infrastructure, a decent sporting history, and the economy to support the infrastructure buildup and lobbying skills. I think (given the disclosed plans for Delhi and Mumbai Metro) that Delhi will have decent enough infrastructure by around 2010 and Mumbai probably by 2020. Add in our usual reluctance to develop and we are looking for a date around 2016-2024. Lobbying and economic power shouldn't be so much of a constraint for India given our emerging tiger status. The only bottleneck is then going to be our lack of a decent sporting history. But probably between 2020-2024, we will have 2-3 gold medals which should be decent enough to launch a bid. So probably we will be hosting an Olympic anytime on or after 2024.
But which city has the best prospects? I think Mumbai, Kolkata and Bangalore are way behind in terms of infrastructure. Hyderabad and Chennai lack a good all-sports-friendly weather. So my bet is on Delhi as other cities lack the prestige necessary for posing a strong bid.

By the way, I wonder if it will be easier for India to bid for the Winter Olympics.


Deepali Sinha-Khetriwal said...

i think the winter olympics are surely more real...specially with mr. ford investing some billions of dollars into developing a ski resort near keep away those hockey sticks and bring out the skis!!

Jagadish said...

Shouldn't there be infrastructure changes regardless of whether a country hosts the games or not? So much money gets spent in getting our athletes ready to get the prized 18th spot, probably tarnished with a drugs scandal as well. So why not put that money to better use?

Raj said...

India's turn to host the Olympics will come in 2016. Read all about it here.

Prahalathan said...

India will host an Olympic event after you and I are dead.
Our politicians can keep shouting their mouths off at election meetings. But unless we have the talent to produce sportsmen, no point in bidding for the games even. Winning the bid is another matter altogether.