Asian Games bid: IOA running out of time

New Delhi: India can bid for the 2019 Asian Games if the new union government taking office later this month takes a priority view and clears it to meet the July 1 deadline.

As things stand, it is highly unlikely the new government decides on such a major issue in a hurry, more so after the stink the 2010 Commonwealth Games raised with the alleged corruption in the run-up.

The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) hopes that it would meet the July 1 deadline to submit bids to the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) for the Games, but a top official told IANS that it would be tough to get the government assurances in such a short time.

The IOA wants the Games to be held in Delhi for the third time. The national capital had hosted the inaugural Games in 1951 and then in 1983. Delhi, which hosted the Commonwealth Games in 2010, had also unsuccessfully bid for the Asian Games in 2006 (Doha) and 2014 (Incheon, South Korea).

"First the IOA has to make an iron cast case to the new government for bidding. The sports ministry has to prepare a cabinet note studying the pros and cons. It all depends on the new sports ministry but given the fact that court cases related to corruption in the Commonwealth Games are still pending and it seems they would not take a hasty decision," the official told IANS on the condition of anonymity.

In 2010, the government, amidst charges of corruption in the run-up to the Commonwealth Games, had shot down IOA`s attempt to bid for the 2019 Asian Games.

But now India joined the race to bid for the Games after hosts Vietnam, who were awarded the Games in 2012, pulled out last month citing financial burden. Besides India, Indonesia and Qatar are also in race along with Malaysia-Singapore`s joint bid.

The IOA is yet to make a formal appeal to the government for clearances from the finance ministry, home ministry, planning commission and the Delhi government. What may also dampen IOA`s chances is that there is no elected government in Delhi, which is under president`s rule.