THE return of cricket to Olympics seems to have firmed up India’s plans to host the world’s biggest sporting extravaganza in 2036. A confirmation about this came from none other than the Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself.
Speaking at the 141st session of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in Mumbai, which gave green signal to the inclusion of cricket in the Olympics, PM Modi said, “India will leave no stone unturned” in its efforts to organise the 2036 edition of the Games.
“India is very excited to organise an Olympics,” he said, adding: “It’s a dream of 140-crore Indians. With the support of IOC, we would want to fulfil this dream.” It is pertinent to note that Blitz India had reported in its August 14-20 edition that India’s growing economic clout and the country’s improved performance in the 2021 Olympics have strengthened the Modi Government’s resolve to make a serious shot at the Olympic bidding. (See screenshot above).
The IOC decision to include cricket in the Los Angeles Games in 2028 was formalised after a vote at the Mumbai session. Along with cricket, in its T20 format, squash, lacrosse, baseball-softball and flag football will also be included, the IOC announced. The last time cricket figured in Olympics was in 1900. It was a one-off event – a two-day Test between Great Britain and France – before it went off the stage.
Cricket gets in 2028 Games
Today, India is at the top in cricket and it calls the shots in the International Cricket Council (ICC). The country also has developed a sport infrastructure, which is the envy of the world. The Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad illustrates this point.
India confirms bid for 2036
The IOC brass witnessed it during the recent Word Cup 2023 match between India and Pakistan. Packed with over 1,00,000 fans in the ground and a vast television audience, the match provided a convincing reason to include cricket in the Los Angeles Games in 2028.
Cricket-plus Olympics is a big deal, both for the IOC and the ICC. Next to football, the game has the largest fan-following and has emerged as one of the most lucrative investment destinations in the world.
Including cricket in its ambit will bring unexplored financial dividends to the IOC enabling the Olympic organisers’ expansion plans into new territories.
A win-win situation
The world of cricket will also be a gainer as more countries may start adopting the sport. This will lead to increased funding for some of the associate countries, allowing them to tap into Government funds for Olympic sports.
For India, it is a win-win situation. It has emerged as one of the pre-eminent powers in the world of cricket. Also, in the decade-and-a-half since Abhinav Bindra became the first Indian to win an individual gold in Olympics, India has been making rapid progress towards becoming a sporting nation.
The country’s sports ecosystem has geared itself to ensure that Indians are no longer mere participants but turn up as competitors at global events. The 100-plus medals tally at the recent Asian Games shows that they are on the go.