Dubai: The fate of the upcoming National Games in India hangs in limbo with the state of Goa repeatedly reneging on its agreement to host it since 2015. The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) has threatened to slap them a fine of Rs 100 million if they eventually don’t honour their commitment.
The state of Goa signed an agreement with IOA way back in 2011 to host the 2015 National Games, but has reneged on its promise several times, thereby postponing the hosting of the 36th edition of the multi-discipline event.
IOA general secretary Rajeev Mehta, who, along with the association’s vice-president Sudhanshu Mittal, on a four-day visit to the UAE, said that the organisers are now running out of patience. “We have called for a meeting in New Delhi on August 31 with senior officials of the Goa government to find a solution. There has been a commitment in place between Goa and the IOA since 2011, but now we will have to take a final decision,” Mittal told Gulf News.
We have called for a meeting in New Delhi on August 31 with senior officials of the Goa government to find a solution.
The IOA had asked Goa to pay the penalty of Rs100 million (Dh5.2 million) for repeatedly missing the deadline for hosting the Games that were originally planned for 2015, but have been re-scheduled several times since then. The last instance was when Goa had expressed its inability to host the event in March-April this year owing to the general elections.
Meanwhile, the IOA has already decided to allot the next editions of the Games to Chhattisgarh (2020), Uttarakhand (2021) and Meghalaya (2022).
Mehta said that it would consider shifting the Games out of the coastal state if it did not show commitment to host them. “I don’t want to postpone these Games again and again. The last decision from the Goan government is that they are interested in [hosting it in] November 2020. During this period, we have lost two editions of the National Games in the bargain. Not hosting the Games is a huge loss for the athletes, especially at this juncture where they can do with some test events leading on to Tokyo 2020,” Mehta said.
The National Games comprise Olympic disciplines in which sportspersons from different states of the country participate and are normally held every two years, excluding those years in which the Olympic Games and Asian Games are scheduled. In exceptional cases or owing to natural calamity, the IOA has the right to relax the general rule.