Sports

India At Asian Games 2023: IOA Chief PT Usha Calls For India To Make Bid For Olympics

India won an unprecedented 107 medals, including 28 gold, in the games that ended on Sunday. In the Chinese city, the country saw an increase of 47 medals from the previous best achieved in the 2018 edition.

PT Usha
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Buoyed by the record medal haul at the Hangzhou Asian Games, Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president P T Usha on Sunday supported the government's plan to place a proposal to host the 2036 Olympics. (Medal Tally | Cricket World Cup)

India won an unprecedented 107 medals, including 28 gold, in the games that ended on Sunday. In the Chinese city, the country saw an increase of 47 medals from the previous best achieved in the 2018 edition.

"After this record-breaking performance in the Hangzhou Asian Games, if our country's athletes, coaches and national federations work hard, I feel we can win double-digit medals in the Paris Olympics," Usha told PTI in Hangzhou.

"The government is doing everything possible for the betterment of Indian sports and the athletes. Our prime minister takes a lot of interest in the country's sports."

She said the time has come for India to bid for the Olympics.

"We should bid for the 2036 Olympics. I am sure India will win more medals in the Paris Olympics than in Tokyo, and then, with the medals to show, we can host the Olympics," said the 59-year-old former track star fondly known as 'Payyoli Express'.

The government could formally express India's interest in hosting the 2036 Olympics during the International Olympic Committee (IOC) session in Mumbai from October 15 to 17.

After recent reforms, the IOC has moved away from the traditional bidding process. After the interested countries place their proposal of interest, the IOC's Future Host Commission will identify and propose its preferred candidate to the Executive Board.

The Executive Board can then enter targeted dialogue with a bid and then decide whether to recommend that a proposal be brought to a vote at an IOC Session.

Usha, who took charge as IOA chief in December last year, said she was not at all surprised at India winning more than 100 medals in Hangzhou.

"I am an athlete myself and I knew from the beginning that India will win more than 100 medals in Hangzhou. So I was not surprised when we crossed 100 medals," said Usha, who missed an Olympic 400m hurdles medal by one-hundredth of a second in the 1984 Los Angeles Games.

"When it (100 medals) happened, I told my colleagues that I knew India will win around 105 medals, and that happened.

"I am happy that India achieved a record medal haul in the Asian Games during our tenure. Everybody worked hard -- the athletes, coaches, support staff and officials. The government was ready to provide everything."

She said the most encouraging aspect about the record haul was that India won medals in several sports, and just a few ones.

"As a track and field athlete myself, I am so happy that we won 29 medals in athletics though the number of gold was less than last time.

"Shooting and archery did very well. And we won medals in so many sports, that is the most encouraging thing."

India won at least a medal in 22 sports. India sent 660 athletes to Hangzhou, the largest ever contingent, to compete in 39 sports.

Asked about the overall organisation of the Hangzhou Games, she said, "China has the experience of hosting big events. From landing at the airport to the Athletes Village and many other things, it has been very smooth except for a few technical glitches (in athletics) which I feel happen in events of such magnitude.

"Even the technical glitches cannot be intentional. This kind of thing can happen and has happened in the past.

"In the 100m hurdles case also (involving India's Jyothi Yarraji) the correction was done and the medal was upgraded to silver."

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