New Delhi: The Union government and the national Olympic body have invited International Olympic Committee (IOC) chief Thomas Bach for a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi to discuss the development of sports in the country and a likely bid for 2024 Olympic Games. Bach, who took over as IOC President in 2013, has been invited to visit India for a meeting with Prime Minister Modi in New Delhi.
The date of the meeting has been tentatively fixed on 27 April. This will be Bach’s first visit to India after becoming IOC president. The invite was handed to Bach, a former Olympian fencer who hails from Germany, at the IOC headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland, by sports secretary Ajit Sharan and Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president N. Ramachandran. Bach was also expected to meet top IOA officials later that day.
Sources in the IOA said that the government would sound out Bach that the country is keen to bid for 2024 Olympic Games though they refused to come on record. No government official was also willing to come on record on this. However, they said that Bach has been very keen on the development of Olympic sports in the country and play a big role in the Olympic movement in the coming years. Ramachandran confirmed that PM Modi will meet Bach later this month but would not comment on India’s likely bid for the Olympic Games in 2024.
“The IOA and the government of India have invited IOC chief Dr. Thomas Bach for a meeting with the honourable Prime Minister of India in the last week of this month to discuss about the development of sports in India,” Ramachandran told PTI. A tentative date of the meeting was mentioned in the invite handed to Bach but Ramachandran said it’s for the IOC and the Prime Minister’s Office to decide on a date.
“There was a tentative date. But our PM and the IOC chief are big personalities and so their offices will decide the exact date,” said Ramachandran. India has time till 15 September if it wants to bid for the 2024 Olympics and the process to send the ‘expression of interest’ has already started in January.