IOC President in India to visit Indian Olympic Association and discuss the future of Olympic sport in the country
Four-party Task Force to be set up to boost India’s performance at the next Olympic Games
IOC President Thomas Bach was in the Indian capital Delhi on Thursday. Meeting with the President of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), Narinder Batra, he discussed the future of Olympic sport in the country - particularly looking ahead to the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.
He also heard from members of the IOA Executive Board, following a meeting with Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore. The Minister had presented his new plans for Indian sport, particularly at grass roots level and in schools, with his “Khelo India” campaign as well as plans to find and help fund the best young athletes in the country.
The pair discussed issues of sports science and coaching, as well as sport for all and role of sport in society. They also addressed the issues of good governance and the autonomy of sport.
During the meeting with the Minister, it was proposed that a four-party task force would be set up to work on the great potential of Indian athletes ahead of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. The task force will consist of a representative of the IOC, the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA), the IOA and the Indian Sports Ministry. This plan was later endorsed at the meeting with the IOA Executive Board. The four-party task force will devise a roadmap for how athletes from India can best be prepared for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, and what international expertise can be of help to sport in India.
Later, at a press conference, President Bach said, “This visit to India could not have come at a better time to give us a chance to warmly congratulate Indian athletes for the great success they achieved at the Commonwealth Games, which sent a very strong signal of India’s potential. During the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, we hope that India will also tap this great potential and can show a strong performance on an Olympic stage.”
Later, the President went to the National Hockey Stadium to see an innovative format of five-a-side mixed hockey, which is being promoted by the International Hockey Federation. Two Indian sides, including several Indian national team members, played an exciting game in front of a large crowd of school children. The new format has 10 minutes each way, and side-boards to stop the ball going into touch.
Later in the evening at a gala dinner, the IOC President, joined by the Sports Minister, met Indian Olympic medallists past and present. He was also joined by the ANOC and OCA President and IOC Member, Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, who was with him throughout the trip.