Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday publicly articulated India’s aspiration to host the 2036 Summer Olympics and become only the fourth Asian country to host the Games.
He said that the country is enthusiastic about hosting the Olympics and is fully committed to making this dream a reality. “India eagerly anticipates hosting the Olympics and the country will leave no stone unturned in our efforts to organise the 2036 Olympics, it’s a dream and aspiration of 140 crore Indians,” he said ahead of a session of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in Mumbai.
However, he did not mention which city would host the Games. Modi also conveyed the country’s willingness to host the 2029 Youth Olympics and expressed confidence in receiving constant support from the IOC.
He underlined the significance of the IOC session taking place in the country after 40 years and also informed the audience about India’s victory against Pakistan in the Cricket World Cup fixture at the world’s largest stadium in Ahmedabad on Saturday. “I congratulate Team Bharat and every Indian on this historic victory”, he said.
Stating that sports have been an important aspect of Indian culture and lifestyle, Modi said: “When you go to the villages of India, one can find that any festival remains incomplete without sports. Indians are not just sports lovers, but we also live it.”
He said “There are no losers in sports, only the winners and learners. The language and spirit of sports are universal. Sports is not mere competition. Sports gives humanity an opportunity to expand.”
“That is why records are celebrated globally. Sports also strengthen the spirit of ‘ Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam – One Earth, One Family, One Future’,” he added.
The Prime Minister also listed recent measures for the development of sports in India. He mentioned the Khelo India Games, Khelo India Youth Games, Khelo India Winter Games, Member of Parliament sports competitions, and the upcoming Khelo India Para Games. “We are focussing on inclusivity and diversity in sports in India”, he said.
“With a special focus on sports, today India is performing brilliantly in international events,” he continued.
Highlighting the sporting culture reflected through the history of India, which is thousands of years old, Modi said that be it the Indus Valley Civilization, the Vedic Period, or the era after it, India’s sporting legacy has been very prosperous.
He informed that scriptures written thousands of years ago mentioned India being proficient in 64 disciplines, including sports such as horse riding, swimming, archery, wrestling etc., and that emphasis was laid on excelling in them.
Modi presented scientific evidence of this ancient sporting legacy of India. He mentioned the Dholavira UNESCO World Heritage site in Gujarat and talked about sports infrastructure in the urban planning of this 5000-year-old city.
In the excavation, the Prime Minister said, two stadiums were found, one of them being the oldest and biggest stadium in the world at the time. Similarly, in Rakhigarhi, sports-related structures have been found.
“This sporting legacy of India belongs to the entire world”, he said, adding that positive changes are a sign of the rapidly transforming landscape of sports in India.
He also said that “sports is not just for winning medals but is a medium to win hearts and it belongs to all for all. It not only prepares champions but also promotes peace, progress and wellness. Therefore, sports is another medium of uniting the world”.
Modi declared the session open in the presence of the president of the IOC, Thomas Bach, and member Nita Ambani.