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OCA chief backs India

President of the Olympic Council of Asia Sheikh Ahmad Al Fahad Al Sabah says India has a very good chance of hosting the Games in 2018. With New Delhi hosting the Commonwealth Games in 2010, it will have the infrastructure and required facilities that we seek in a country, reports Sahil Sharma.

india Updated: Apr 23, 2009 02:03 IST
Sahil Sharma

Very few people in the world can travel to three countries in a day. The president of the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA), Sheikh Ahmad Al Fahad Al Sabah is one of them. Coming from Bhutan, en route to Guangzhou, China, where he will inspect the preparations for the 2010 Asian Games, the OCA chief made a two-hour stop in the Capital.

"I am here to discuss India's performance in Olympic sports and also get an update on its preparations for the Commonwealth Games," Al Sabah said.

The owner of several private jets and oil fields, Al Sabah offered a new lease of hope to India's chances of hosting the Asian Games.

"India has a very good chance of hosting the Games in 2018. With New Delhi hosting the Commonwealth Games in 2010, it will have the infrastructure and required facilities that we seek in a country", he said.

India had bid for the 2014 Games, but lost out to Incheon, South Korea.

"The Asian Games have evolved over the years and India has played a major role in it. The first stage was the 1950s when the Games were first started and New Delhi hosted the first edition. The next was in the 80s with again New Delhi taking the honours. But the bar was raised by the 2006 Doha Games and we want the next games to be better," he added.

Despite a lot of countries showing their reluctance to travel to the sub-continent, the OCA president brushed aside the security concerns.

"The incident that happened with the Sri Lanka cricketers in Pakistan was just an accident and we should not give too much emphasis on security concerns. I have full faith in India being a safe country and we must spread the same message," Al Sabah said.