IOA offers Kerala to host South Asian Games in Nov-Dec
New Delhi: The Indian Olympic Association has offered Kerala to host the 12th South Asian Games (SAG) in November-December after Assam and Meghalaya governments did not show interest in staging the regional multi-sporting event.
The IOA, in its Annual General Meeting in December last year, had decided to offer Assam and Meghalaya to host the SAG in Guwahati and Shillong but it is learnt that the two northeastern states have not responded positively to it.
With time running out to stage the event, which has been postponed a few times in the past, the IOA, after consultation with the Sports Ministry, has asked the Kerala government whether it wants to host the SAG or not.
“The Assam and Meghalaya governments have not responded positively. So, on the recommendation of the Sports Ministry, we have sent a formal letter to the Kerala government whether it wants to host the South Asian Games,” IOA Secretary General Rajiv Mehta told.
“We have to fulfil our international commitment and we have asked Kerala government to reply in a week’s time. Accordingly, we will take a decision on the venue in consultation with the government. The IOA General House will take a final call on the matter,” he added.
The advantage for holding the SAG in Kerala is that the state has infrastructure as it recently hosted the National Games in February. The capital city of Thiruvananthapuram is expected to host most of the disciplines if Kerala decides to host the event.
The budget for hosting the SAG, which is likely to be a 12-day affair, has been estimated to Rs 60-70 crores and the Sports Ministry will bear around 90 per cent of the cost of hosting the event.
The last SAG were held in Bangladesh capital, Dhaka in 2010 and there were 23 disciplines, including Twenty20 cricket competed among Under-21 players from eight participating countries. If cricket is included this time also only time will tell.
The 12th SAG was to be hosted by India in 2012 but had to be postponed due to various reasons, including Delhi Assembly polls and suspension on the IOA by International Olympic Committee in December 2012.