Seven years of postponement and delays in infrastructure development have taken away Goa's opportunity to host the prestigious National Games. The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) has declared that Gujarat will now host the 36 th edition of the National Games in September- October this year.
Five cities, including Ahmedabad, Surat, Rajkot, Bhavnagar and Vadodara, will host this sporting event. The detailed schedule of the games will be announced after a few days. IOA Secretary General, Rajiv Mehta, said on Wednesday.
“The Gujarat government and Gujarat Olympic Association have, both, expressed interest in hosting the National Games. The IOA is happy to accept their proposal. The National Games have not been held for the last seven years, and this has affected several sportsmen. Gujarat showed its readiness to host the National Games within a short time, and hence the IOA backed the decision,” Mehta continued.
“The IOA wanted to stage the games this year following multiple delays. Several medalists get jobs on the basis of their performance in the National Games, and we cannot rob them of the chance for so long,” Mehta added.
Initially, the 36 th National Games had been allotted to Goa, which was expected to hold the sporting event in 2011, but lack of infrastructure delayed the scheduled event. Meanwhile, Kerala conducted the 35 th edition of the Games in 2015. The 36 th edition was then scheduled for 2016; but again, the event was shifted to 2018 due to the Goa Legislative Assembly polls. Due to the lack of infrastructure, the National Games were further postponed during two consecutive years ie 2018 and 2019.
The outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic stretched for two years, and forced the games to be postponed from the scheduled dates of October 20, 2020 to November 4, 2020.
Earlier this month, the IOA had written to the government of Goa and asked if Goa would host the National Games in September this year. Sports Minister, Govind Gaude, replied to the letter, citing reasons for the ongoing monsoons and upcoming festivals, and requested an extra