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Kalmadi raps Aiyar for Asiad bid loss

India fails in its bid to host the 2014 Asian Games, a defeat the IOA chief blames on the Sports Minister.

india Updated: Apr 18, 2007 01:10 IST

India on Tuesday failed in its bid to host the 2014 Asian Games in Delhi, a defeat Indian Olympic Association (IOA) chief Suresh Kalmadi blamed on Sports and Youth Affairs Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar.

Soon after the 45-member Olympic Council Asia (OCA) awarded the Games to the South Korean city of Incheon, an upset Kalmadi said: “This is a victory for Mani Shankar Aiyar.” Kalmadi was referring the minister’s remarks last week to the effect that hosting a big sporting event made no difference to the poor.

“We looked a divided lot because of the sports minister’s comments which appeared in newspapers also,” said Kalmadi.

Aiyar was reported to have opposed India’s bid when the matter came up before the cabinet. However, the cabinet approved it five days ago, after which an IOA delegation flew to Kuwait for the bid.

In Delhi, Aiyar said he had nothing to say about Kalmadi’s remarks. The minister said losing the bid was not a defeat for the country. The huge amount of money that will now be saved from organising the games can be used to build better sports facilities for the youth of the country who have till now been deprived of them.

After the Delhi-Incheon race, Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, president of the OCA, which controls sport in the Asian region, said, “It was very close. They both (Delhi and Incheon) had weak points and strong points. From a marketing viewpoint, Korea had the edge.”

First Published: Apr 17, 2007 19:00 IST