India too poor to bid for Olympics: sports minister

India too poor to bid for Olympics: sports minister

New Delhi: India’s hopes of hosting an Olympics in the near future was dealt a blow by the sports minister Manohar Singh Gill, who said the country was far too poor to even consider the idea.

India will stage the Commonwealth Games next year and the country’s Olympic association IOA chief Suresh Kalmadi had said India would bid for the 2020 Summer Games after the successful delivery of the New Delhi event.

“I am not sure if India should be thinking of the Olympics. Look at the poverty here," Gill told the parliament.

“Some of our colleagues (in Parliament) and people outside casually say we should be bidding for the Olympics... I don’t think so," Gill told the country’s lawmakers, according to Thursday’s Hindustan Times.

“China spent $50 billion for the Beijing Olympics. Are you ready to spend that much?"

India, a nation of 1.2 billion, has the second fastest growing economy after China and see the Commonwealth Games in October next year as an opportunity to show off New Delhi as a major global destination.

India doubled its Commonwealth Games budget to $344 million and Gill told the Upper House that the estimated cost of training and competition venues alone was Rs41 billion (approx $888.5 million).

Organizers came under heavy criticism following delays in the completion of infrastructure, leading to the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) expressing dissatisfaction at the tardy progress of work.