Uncertainty over SAG ends; Guwahati, Shillong to co-host Games

The uncertainty over the venue to host the 12th South Asian Games has ended with the Sports Ministry and Indian Olympic Association deciding to hold the regional multi-sporting event in Guwahati and Shillong in November-December.

New Delhi: The uncertainty over the venue to host the 12th South Asian Games has ended with the Sports Ministry and Indian Olympic Association deciding to hold the regional multi-sporting event in Guwahati and Shillong in November-December.

IOA Secretary General Rajiv Mehta told PTI that the Sports Ministry has given final approval to hold the SAG in Guwahati and Shillong and the Games Organising Committee will be constituted soon.

"It is the Sports Ministry which will bear the cost and so it has given final approval to hold the 12th SAG in Guwahati and Shillong. The Games will be held in November and December. A final date will be decided in the coming days," Mehta said.

"We have sent the letters of approval from the governments of Assam and Meghalaya and the Sports Ministry to the South Asian Federation headquarters and we have received the letter of acknowledgement from them," he said.

Mehta said that the SAF Council will ratify the host venues in its meeting in Singapore on June 13.

"The SAF Council meeting on June 13 will approve the host venues and it will be a relief for us as the SAG was given to India in 2012 but could not be held due to various reasons," he said.

"We may invite the officials of each of the eight countries for a meeting in New Delhi this month after the SAF Council meeting in Singapore," said Mehta.

A meeting between the officials of the IOA and the Sports Ministry were held yesterday and another meeting will be held on June 8 to discuss on how to start preparations for the the Games.

"We had a meeting yesterday and another one will be held on June 8. The Organising Committee of the SAG will be formed shortly," Mehta, who will attend the SAF Council Meeting in Singapore, said.

The IOA had last year proposed to hold the SAG in

Guwahati and Shillong but after the governments of Assam and Meghalaya did not initially give positive responses, it offered Kerala to host the Games.

Assam then expressed it desire to host the SAG if the Union Government bears the whole cost of hosting the Games.

The budget for hosting the SAG, which is likely to be a 12-day affair, has been estimated to Rs 60-70 crore and the Sports Ministry will bear around 90 per cent of the cost.

The 23-discipline SAG would see participation from around 2,500 athletes from the eight member-countries -- Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The last edition of the SAG was held in Dhaka, Bangladesh in 2010.

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