The Gujarat government officials on Wednesday clarified that no decision has been taken by the state so far to host the 2026 Commonwealth Games in Ahmedabad, and said that acquiring the hosting rights for the 2036 Olympics is its focus.
The officials denied reports published in a section of media which suggested that the state authorities may bid to host the 2026 Commonwealth Games at Ahmedabad after Australia suddenly pulled out from hosting the games due to cost concerns.
Asked if the state government is mulling to bag the hosting rights for the 2026 Commonwealth Games, a senior government official, on the condition of anonymity, said he was "not aware of any such move so far".
Deputy Secretary (Sports) in the state Sports, Youth and Cultural Activities Department, U A Patel, also denied such news reports saying the focus of the department is the 2036 Olympics.
"Our focus right now is to acquire hosting rights for the 2036 Olympics. As of now, no decision has been taken from our side to bid for the 2026 Commonwealth Games," Patel told PTI.
Notably, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in Gujarat had earlier announced it was aiming to bag the hosting rights for the 2036 Summer Olympic Games and authorities will engage with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) about organising the quadrennial sporting event in the western state.
The state government has identified two mega sports complexes in Ahmedabad to host some of the events in case Gujarat wins the bid to organise the 2036 Olympics.
These two upcoming complexes are – the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Sports Enclave, which houses Narendra Modi Stadium, in the Motera area and another upcoming sports complex in the Naranpura area of Ahmedabad city.
In December 2022, Union Home Minister Amit Shah held a meeting with top government officials to review the state's preparedness to host the Olympic games.
At the meet, Shah took stock of the progress made in the construction of these two mega sports complexes and asked the authorities to make sure that all the sports infrastructure, including lodging facilities for participating athletes and coaches, are built as per the Olympic standards.
In August 2021, the Gujarat government announced that the Centre has accorded administrative approval to provide finance for the upcoming Sports Complex in the Naranpura area of Gujarat's Ahmedabad city, which would come up at a cost of Rs 584 crore.
The sports complex is being developed as per international standards on a land parcel of 79,500 square metres located behind Vardan Tower in the Naranpura area. Once completed, it can host both national as well as international-level tournaments.
The entire premises will have an Aquatic Complex, a Community Sports Centre, a Centre for Sports Excellence, Indoor Multi Sports Arena, Fit India Zone and an Outdoor sports area, officials said.
The Aquatic Complex will have a FINA-approved competition-size swimming pool as well as a diving pool, which can also be utilised for artistic as well as water polo with a spectator capacity of 1,500 persons.
The Community Sports Centre will accommodate a multipurpose hall, six badminton courts, six table tennis courts, six carrom Tables, nine chess tables and ten tables for snooker and billiards.
The Centre for Sports Excellence will have two halls which can accommodate either two basketball courts, two volleyball courts or eight badminton courts at a time. The hall will be designed to hold international standard matches of these sports, the officials said.
The Multi Sports Arena will be having a huge hall of 80 meters X 40 meters in size for organizing multiple international sports events, they added.