NEW DELHI - The Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) has extended its July 1 deadline by "a couple of days" to allow India submit a late bid for the 2019 Asian Games after original host Hanoi backed out from staging the event.
Hanoi was awarded the games in November 2012, ahead of the Indonesian city of Surabaya, but the Vietnamese capital stood down as hosts in April, fearing the multi-sport event would not be financially viable.
The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) made a late decision to bid for the games and had requested two more weeks to get approval from the country's new government, which assumed power late May, and complete the required paper works.
"The OCA has extended the deadline by a couple of days and I'm requesting an interview with Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) seeking government approval for the bid," IOA secretary general Rajeev Mehta told Reuters on Thursday.
"I know we have a very short time to put everything in order but I'm optimistic of submitting a bid. We are trying our best," Mehta added. Local media quoted a letter from the OCA telling Mehta to submit the bid this week. “Due to the extreme shortage of time, it is impossible for the OCA to extend the deadline any further," the continental governing body wrote in the letter.”
"Within this two month period we need to establish the evaluation team that will visit the bidding cities and submit its report to the OCA Executive Board on 19th September." New Delhi hosted the first Asian Games in 1951 and the ninth in 1982. The Indian capital also hosted the 2010 Commonwealth games, which was plagued by construction delays and corruption scandals.