Sunday, October 18, 2009
After China, Brazil became the second country from the much talked BRIC to win rights to host the Summer Olympics. Brazil is today among the 10 biggest economies in the world by GDP and winning this bid is a testimony of its growing economic clout. It has already won the rights to host the 2014 Football World Cup.
Importance of Hosting an Olympics
Hosting an Olympics is a gigantic exercise that involves building massive infrastructure. It requires coordination between scores of departments of the respective Govt and also the city municipality and local govt. While it is still a hotly debated topic whether hosting the Olympics is actually beneficial or not, the games can surely serve as an image building exercise for countries. For e.g. Germany hosted Olympics in 1936, Japan in 1964 and recently China in 2008.
The Games help create permanent physical infrastructure and temporarily boosts the local economy. It also helps showcase the country as a possible investment and tourist destination. This is particularly important for our country because we are constantly bracketed along with our troubled neighbors. It is important for us to ensure that the world perceives India to be different and is secure.
Perhaps it was this which prompted the NDA Govt. to bid for the Commonwealth Games and thus gain experience in hosting mega-sporting events.
So when will India host the Olympics
The success of China and now Brazil gives hope to our chances. They too are developing countries. Just like South Asia is plagued by terrorism, South America is plagued by drug trafficking. Just today Ria de Janeria was in news about a drug gang war. But still the Olympic Committee chose it over others major economies like Japan and the US.
But for that India really needs to pull up its socks and ensure that we host a great Commonwealth Games. For the moment, the IOA seems to be involved in an ego clash. India lost the 2014 bid to host the Asian Games. It was said to be an extremely messy bid. India has already indicated that it may bid again for 2018 Asian Games. The Olympics committee would decide in 2013 for the hosts of the 2020 games.
The Wiki page lists a whole of possible bidders which includes New Delhi. The biggest competition to Delhi in my view is going to come from South Africa. Like South America, Africa too has never hosted the games and this could just be the opportunity. South Africa has an excellent track record in hosting various cricket events like Cricket World 2003, World T20 2007, IPL 2009 and Champions Trophy 2009. It has also hosted other major events in Hockey, Fencing, Modern Pentathlon, Cycling. The infrastructure in South Africa is way ahead of us and it has a good chance of winning the bid.
Other competitors include UAE, Qatar, South Korea, Japan and US.
Besides the infrastructural bottlenecks, India needs to improve its medals tally at the London Olympics as the Olympics committee would not like the host country without winning any medals.