Knives out in IOA, Narendra Batra focused for failing to lodge Olympic bid

Vinayak Padmadeo

Today News Online Service

New Delhi, February 26

The naming of Brisbane as the non-binding preferred bidder for the 2032 Olympic Games by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has all but ended India’s hopes for lodging a bid for that year. Wednesday’s announcement making the Australian city the favourite to host the 2032 Olympics has also sharpened the knives within the Indian Olympic Association (IOA). Previously, in April 2018, IOA president Narendra Batra, standing alongside IOC chief Thomas Bach, had announced the country’s intention to bid for the 2026 Youth Olympic Games (YOG), 2030 Asian Games and 2032 Olympics.

Today’s development made IOA treasurer Anandeshwar Pandey take potshots at Batra.

‘Khayali pulao’

“It is a big opportunity lost. Kuch log khayali pulao bana rahe the (some of us were too busy making castles in the air) and ended up doing nothing,” Pandey, a known critic of Batra, told The Tribune. “It is a fact. We have been found wanting. We have failed to stay united and never worked together to achieve anything.”

“I had read the announcements in newspapers that we will bid for games but till today we have not lodged a bid for any games. There are a few formalities needed to be done to bid for games, including depositing bid money. But during my time as (IOA) treasurer we have not deposited any amount for any of the games, be it the Olympics or the Asian Games,” he added.

No Asiad, YOG too

India will not be able to bid for the Asian Games and the YOG either. The hosting rights for the 2030 Asiad are being contested by Doha and Riyadh as the IOA failed to lodge a bid. The IOC’s decision to postpone the 2022 YOG to 2026 has also poured cold water on Batra’s claims.

Pandey said Batra will now have to explain before the IOA executive the failure to lodge any bid.

“This matter (failure) will be raised in the executive committee. All members of the executive have the right to question as to why we never lodged any bid and if members want me to question then even I will do so. Previously we had great people like Raja Randhir Singh and a few others who would always keep the house involved. Unfortunately that is not happening right now,” he explained.

“It was his (Batra’s) responsibility to make all those claims a reality. He had to take the EB and general body in confidence and then he had to talk to the government and then maybe led a delegation to IOC or OCA and bid for games. How and why he failed only he can answer but there was no result and because of it, IOA’s image has taken a hit. Had we done any work, it would have helped,” he said.

Pandey hinted that sports federations and state Olympic associations would hold Batra accountable for this fiasco.

“House will set his accountability. Both the executive body and general body will take a decision on this. Sports associations and state Olympic associations will decide whether the IOA president has done proper work or not but let me tell you this — many of us will definitely take a call regarding his accountability,” he said.

Despite repeated attempts made to reach him, Batra was unavailable for comments.

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