Postponed several times due to different reasons, the National Games will be held in multiple cities in Gujarat in September-October this year, the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) Secretary General Rajiv Mehta told PTI on Wednesday.
The IOA took the decision after Gujarat Olympic Association and the state government jointly expressed their interest to host the Games.
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“The Gujarat government wrote to us that it backs the expression of interest of the state Olympic Association to host the Games and we are happy to accept their proposal," Mehta told PTI.
“The Games will be held in five or six cities in Gujarat, including Ahmedabad in September-October. The exact dates will be announced after a few days. We are happy that the Games will be held after a lot of delay," he added.
Mehta said the IOA top brass took the decision in “quick time" because it wanted to stage the Games this year after multiple delays.
“The top brass has the power to take the decision and take approval of general house of the IOA later. In any case, we have taken approval of many NSFs and state bodies via email.
“We are also going to call a General Body Meeting to ratify some important decisions as well as the hosting of National Games. We are going to approach Delhi High Court and Supreme Court (where cases involving IOA are pending) to allow us to call a GBM," Mehta said.
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The last National Games were held in Kerala in 2015 and Goa was to host the 36th edition in November 2016. After two delays in 2018 and 2019 due to the state’s inability to create adequate infrastructure, the Games were further postponed to 2020.
COVID-19 then forced the postponement of the National Games and the Goa government was still not certain whether it will be able to host them this year.
“Goa has told IOA that they are not going to be able to host the National Games this year. So, let Gujarat hosts the Games, that is good for everybody. We feel Gujarat has the capability as the state government has backed the proposal.
“We can then host the National Games one after the other, like in Uttarakhand, Chhattisgarh, Meghalaya."
He said Gujarat can provide the required infrastructure to host the National Games in such a short time as the state already has top facilities in various sports.
“Gujarat already has top facilities and we are certain that the state can host the Games. The strong backing by the state government clinched the issue. Of course, teams from IOA will inspect the facilities."
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