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India's Dreams Of Hosting Olympics To Realise Soon? Here's What Prime Minister Narendra Modi Promised At Mumbai IOC Session

Calling it 'a dream of 140 crore Indians', Prime Minister Narendra Modi said India will do whatever it takes to try and host the 2036 Olympics. Modi was speaking at the 141st session of the International Olympic Committee, which is being held in the country after a gap of 40 years

IOC president Thomas Bach (L) and PM Narendra Modi in Mumbai on Saturday.
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Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday asserted that India will leave "no stone unturned" in its efforts to organise the 2036 Olympics as the government expressed a strong desire to host the biggest sporting event in the world. Modi spoke after declaring open the 141st session of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), where India will present its roadmap for hosting the quadrennial extravaganza. The IOC session is being held in the country after a gap of 40 years. The last time India hosted the session was in 1983 in New Delhi. PM Modi also said that India wishes to host the 2029 Youth Olympics. (Sports News)

"Indians are very excited about hosting the Olympic Games. India will leave no stone unturned in organising the 2036 Olympics," said Modi during his address to the IOC Session delegation and a host of other invitees at the Jio World Convention Centre in Mumbai.

"This is a dream of 140 crore Indians. We want to fulfil this dream with your support. We are willing to host the 2029 Youth Olympics. I am sure India will get constant support from IOC," PM Modi added.

The sports ministry had recently said that the government will back Indian Olympic Association's bid for hosting the games. Hosting the Games is a costly affair. The cost to host the 2021 Tokyo Olympics was estimated to be USD 15 billion, which was double the cost Tokyo was expected to spend when the Japanese city was awarded the Games in 2013.

If India emerges winner in the process, the city of Ahmedabad will most likely host the Games. 

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 decide whether to recommend that a proposal be brought to a vote at an IOC session. India may have to compete with Korea, Mexico, Germany and Italy.

The last time India hosted a multi-sport event was the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, although the country has organised several other prestigious tournaments such as the Boxing World Championship and the Asian Wrestling Championship in recent past.  

In his address to the gathering, PM Modi touched upon the importance of sports in India's illustrious history and said that there are hardly any festivals in the country which do not have any spots associated with them.

"The spirit of sports is universal. There are no losers — there are only winners and learners in sports. Sports empower humanity. Whoever breaks records, everyone welcomes it,"said Modi.

IOC president Thomas Bach, who began his address earlier in the evening while greeting the gathering by saying ‘namaste’, told the Indian PM ‘aapka bahut-bahut swagat’ (we welcome you) in Hindi while adding that the country has been on the rise economically and also in sports.

"We are so pleased to be in India — a country that is on the rise in so many respects, including Olympic sports. India is a truly inspiring place to hold our IOC Session. A country which combines its splendid history and dynamic presence with a vigorous confidence in the future," Bach said.

"India is an inspiring place. The entire Olympic community in India can be proud of the Asian Games performance," he said referring to country's 107-medal show.  

"Another illustration of the growing Olympic spirit is the outstanding performance of the Indian athletes at the Asian Games in Hangzhou

"This IOC Session should give the IOA the timely impulse of your journey of change and reform of Indian sport in every respect."

The IOC president, in his address, highlighted the importance of inclusion of e-sports in the Olympics program, emphasising on the need to trust the mindset of the young people and empower them. 

Bach said artificial intelligence and e-sports are two new opportunities for the Olympic movement.

"Over continued success depends on how we embrace the ever-accelerating development of technology and in particular, AI. This makes our Olympic agenda 2020+5 imperative — change or be changed — even more urgent," Bach said.

"There are 3 billion people playing e-sports and gaming around the world. Over 500 million of them are interested specifically in e-sports which includes virtual sports and sports simulation,” he said.  

“What is even more relevant to us (is) that a majority of them are under the age of 34. This is why we took the strategic decision to engage with e-sports in a holistic way,” Bach added.

Bach said the governing body’s approach while dealing with AI and e-sports will be in line with IOC’s values. 

"We choose an approach that will allow us to be active in the e-sports space while staying true to our values that have guided us over a century."  

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"I have asked our new IOC e-sports commission to study the creation of Olympic e-sports games. AI and e-sports are our two opportunities, to seize them and manage the risks, we need a new mindset. We need the mindset of the young people. We have to trust and empower them because the pace of chance will be exponential. It is changed or be changed once again.  

Bach spoke in detail on the possible impact of artificial intelligence on sports such as gymnastics, boxing and even fencing, saying an AI working group has been formed and added that more details on it will be revealed during the 141st IOC Session to be held over the next two days.

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Bach also highlighted the impact that artificial intelligence is going to have on the future Games, saying, “Paris Olympics 2024 will be the last Games of the pre-artificial intelligence era.”

Among those who attended the inauguration of the IOC Session here were Olympic champion javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra, India's first individual Olympics gold medal winner Abhinav Bindra, FIFA president Gianni Infantino, the US ambassador to India Eric Garcetti, tennis legend Leander Paes, Indian cricket great Jhulan Goswami, incumbent captain Harmanpreet Kaur, Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan and a few others.

Also in attendance were Maharashtra chief minister Eknath Shinde and deputy CM of the state Devendra Fadnavis.

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