Olympics in India: In 1951, India hosted the first-ever Asian Games at New Delhi. It was soon after the independence, hence turned out to be a huge statement to the world that India would develop to become a country with abundant resources and facilities. For half a century since then, India faced many territorial, internal and political tensions which dwindled the economic progress. India, for a long time now comes under the list of developing countries but our reputation of hosting the Olympics in India was never harmed until 2010. The sacred philosophy “Athithi Devo Bhava” seemed like a sham for the international athletes and coaches who came for the 2010 Commonwealth Games held in New Delhi.
What happened in the 2010 Commonwealth Games?
India is one of the worst-rated countries in the Global Hunger Index. When the nation agreed to host a multi-sport international event like the Commonwealth Games, economists and experts pointed out the negatives. Considering a country that was already struggling with issues of infrastructure, heavy pollution, and mass poverty, it was a tough call. Controversies were raised at the time of preparations itself. Several organizations and mainstream media-reported instances of child labor and violation of Labour laws during the construction and renovation of venues. A week before the commencement of the event, almost 10000 volunteers quitted due to an unsatisfactory environment, and the ticket sales for the first few days were so minimal. A few less popular events happened with absolutely no audience.
Poor quality of infrastructure facilities and equipment, fear of terrorism after the Jama Masjid attack, the dengue fever spread, and doping controversies. The Commonwealth Games of 2010 was not at all what people expected. Then emerged the most shameful incident, the corruption case. A massive amount of 70,000 crores was involved. The CBI investigated the case and arrested the Organizing Committee Chairman of the Commonwealth Games, Mr. Suresh Kalmadi. India is yet to fully recover from this tragic hosting but is already endeavoring for an opportunity to host the biggest sporting event in the world. How practical is this dream?
Outcomes of Organising Olympics in India
Pros of India hosting Olympics
Hosting Olympic games comes with immense benefits in terms of international relations, sponsorship, investment of multinational corporations, and sports itself. The advancement of sporting culture, scope for tourism, and job opportunities leave any hosting city with an ever-lasting aura. Cities like Barcelona, Seoul, and Helsinki transformed into the economic capitals of the country after hosting the Olympics.
Cons of India hosting Olympics
Hosting Olympics in India is regarded as a liability. It would take billions to bid for an edition of the Olympics in India, to set up high-quality venues, and facilitate the athletes and staff. The post-Olympics impact is more evident in Rio currently than anywhere else. After hosting in 2016, the Brazilian economy went into chaos as newly-built stadiums were abandoned. Coincided with a major corruption scandal after hosting two major events in 2014 and 2016 (The FIFA World Cup and Olympic Games respectively), Brazil is now in debt instead of the estimated financial flourish.
India & Olympics & the Indian Economy
Indian economic status, particularly since being the most severely affected country by the coronavirus pandemic, is not in a shape to host such an international event in the near future. The plan is to aim for the 2032 or 2036 Olympics in India. By when hopefully the situation would be much better. There won’t be much confusion with the host city as Ahmedabad Urban Development Authority has already informed their interest. And the city simply has the best venues in the country. Also, the Sardar Patel Sports Enclave which is presently under construction spreads across approximately 215 acres. It consists of arrangements for several sporting events. However, marvelous venues alone don’t provide enough facilities but aspects like transportation, health, and accommodation are essential. Some sporting events like rowing and triathlon require long rivers and plain roads.
What are the chances of the Olympics in India?
India hosting Olympics: Though India has hosted several multi-national tournaments like the Cricket World Cup, Asian Games, Commonwealth Games, and FIFA-U17 World Cup. Comparatively a lot more personnel and facilities are needed to host the Olympics. The nation is about to host the 2021 T20 World Cup and the 2023 Cricket World Cup. These are chances to prove that we can facilitate such big events.
Moreover, Indian trade and commerce have a role to do. Along with national funds, sponsorship deals with international companies assist the conduction of the event without falling into a financial crisis. Being a nation with extreme political problems, the safety of athletes, staff, and the audience cannot be compromised. More communal riots and border attacks diminish any possibility of hosting the grand event.
2036 Ahmedabad Olympics
As of now, the Sardar Patel Sports Enclave in Ahmedabad would become the prime venue of hosting the Olympics in India. But the hub should be tested for all sports and should conduct national-level events. And finally, India’s performance in the upcoming Olympic Games must be impressive. Because the medal tally displays the emphasis on sports in a nation. The host of the biggest sporting spectacle should be able to showcase such quality which India never did in the history of the Olympics. But there is no doubt that India is improving pretty well and representing at least one new event every Olympics. Though such a sudden surge in gold medals in the next few editions is unrealistic. It isn’t impossible and there is still a long way to go for India to welcome Olympics.