Dubai: Thailand is set to become the latest country to enter the race to host the 2026 Summer Youth Olympic Games (YOG).
As per reports in the Thai media, the country is planning a joint candidacy from Bangkok and Chonburi. The bid is being fronted by Kongsak Yodmanee, Governor of the Sports Authority of Thailand, who has disclosed that they plan to send their intention to bid to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) by next week.
Yodmanee further insisted that the bidding process “has to be done urgently” for the Thais “to catch up with India”, who have now emerged as one of the favourites to land the hosting rights for the Games.
Earlier last week, IOC member Nita Ambani had claimed that a successful YOG bid from India could be its gateway to securing the hosting rights to a future Olympic Games.
The Colombian Olympic Committee had confirmed in February that it had approved Medellín as a candidate for the 2026 Games, while Kazan in Russia too had also reportedly expressed an interest earlier this year.
In September 2019, IOC President Thomas Bach had consulted with President of the Republic of Colombia Ivan Duque Marquez who had shown a strong interest in tabling a candidature on behalf of Cartegena for the 2026 YOG.
Earlier, Medellin had stayed in the frame while showing an intent of a second bid for the YOG after losing its bid to Buenos Aires for the Games in 2018. That bid from Medellin had the backing of the Colombian Olympic Committee as late as February this year.
India was a relatively early entrant with Ambani spearheading the bid after becoming a part of the IOC in 2016. The Mumbai-based businesswoman has revealed her dream to initiate the process that will lead to India staging a Summer Olympics.
She has insisted that the first step towards realising India’s Olympic dream that would be to first hold the 2023 IOC Session, something that looks probable with Mumbai being the host, followed by the staging of the 2026 YOG, either in New Delhi or Bhubaneswar. India has also shown an inclination to host the 2030 Asian Games.
However, in the latest development, Bangkok will likely be the main hub of the bid, with Chonburi — located some 100 kms southwest of the capital — also roped in to stage a few events.
The IOC has not yet revealed when it plans to name the hosts of the 2026 Youth Olympic Games.
Cities are usually awarded the Games either four or five years before the event, so a decision could come as early as next year.
Organised by the IOC, the first summer version of the YOG was held in Singapore (from August 14 to 26, 2010). The age limitation of the athletes is between 14 to 18 years.