Indian International Olympic Committee (IOC) member Nita Ambani has claimed a successful Youth Olympic Games (YOG) bid from the country will be its gateway to securing the hosting rights to a future Olympic Games.
Speaking exclusively to India Today, Ambani, who entered the IOC in 2016 and is a Board member of Reliance Industries – India’s largest private-sector enterprise, revealed her dream is to initiate the process that will lead to India staging the Olympics.
She stated the first step towards realising that would be to hold the 2023 IOC Session, something which appears extremely likely after yesterday's announcement that Mumbai has been proposed as host.
Under the typical bid timetable adhered to by the IOC until recently, this Session would almost automatically have included the choice of the 2030 Winter Olympics host, and hence, in effect, fired the starting-pistol for the race for the 2032 Summer Olympics, an event India is in the running to stage.
With the IOC having now adopted a more flexible host selection approach, this can no longer be stated with any certainty.
India is also viewed as a potential candidate for the 2026 YOG and the 2030 Asian Games.
"I would love to bid for the Youth Olympics," Ambani told India Today.
"That would be a game-changer.
"I think it's all of standing together, we can do it for India.
"If we get the Youth Olympics to India, we can change the lives of many children.
"That will be our gateway to the Summer Olympics.
"It's win-win for both, for the Olympics and for India."
An IOC delegation visited Mumbai in November to inspect India's bid for the 2023 Session, with the Evaluation Commission led by Executive Board member Ng Ser Miang.
The Commission met officials from the Indian Olympic Association during the trip, including President Narinder Batra and secretary general Rajeev Mehta, as well as Ambani.
The IOC Executive Board gave its approval in Lausanne yesterday, with final ratification set to be made at the IOC Session in Tokyo in July.
India has only hosted the IOC Session once, in 1983 in New Delhi.
"We have never had an Olympic Games presence in India," Ambani told India Today.
"We are number five in GDP (gross domestic product).
"We have seen Games going to Tokyo, Australia, Japan but never come to India.
"My dream is to start little by little and we realise this dream for the generations to come.
"It's wonderful to see us now doing well, especially our girls doing well at the Olympics.
"But what about bringing the Games to India?"