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'Matter of great pride and joy': Nita Ambani hails decision to award Mumbai IOC session in 2023

News Agencies | Updated on: 19 February 2022, 14:22 IST
139th IOC Session in Beijing, China (Photo: IOC Media's YouTube)

International Olympic Committee (IOC) member Nita Ambani described Saturday's decision to award India the right to host the IOC Session in Mumbai in 2023 as "a significant development for India's Olympic aspirations and a matter of great pride and joy".

Mumbai received a historic 99 per cent of the votes in favour of its bid from the delegates participating in the process, with 75 members endorsing its candidature to host the IOC session in 2023.

The decision confirms India will be hosting this prestigious IOC meeting for the first time since 1983, in what is set to be the start of a new era of engagement between India's youthful population and the Olympic Movement.

Nita Ambani also reaffirmed her long-standing commitment towards enabling the country host the Youth Olympic Games and the Olympic Games in the future.

"The Olympic Movement is back to India after a 40-year wait! I am truly grateful to the International Olympic Committee for entrusting India with the honour of hosting the IOC Session in Mumbai in 2023," said Nita Ambani in a statement.

"This will be a significant development for India's Olympic aspiration and will herald the start of a new era for Indian sport. Sport has always been a beacon of hope and inspiration for millions around the world," she further said.

"We are one of the youngest countries in the world today and I'm excited for the youth of India to embrace and experience first-hand the magic of the Olympics. It is our dream to strengthen this partnership further and host the Olympic Games in India in the years to come," Nita Ambani added.

An Indian delegation, comprising Nita Ambani, the first woman to be elected as an IOC member from India, and including Indian Olympic Association (IOA) President Dr Narinder Batra, Youth Affairs and Sports Minister Anurag Singh Thakur, and India's first individual Olympic gold medallist (Beijing 2008, shooting) Abhinav Bindra, presented a compelling case during the 139th IOC Session, held alongside the ongoing Winter Olympics in Beijing
"Nearly half of India's population, over 600 million, are under 25 years of age," said Nita Ambani, during her speech to IOC delegates.

"This makes India one of the most crucial and exciting places to nurture and grow the Olympic Movement. Inspired by the Olympic Values Education Programme, it is our mission to identify potential talent and guide them to greatness in the world of sport. To coincide with the Olympic Session 2023, we propose to launch a series of elite sports development programmes for youth across deprived communities," she added.

Speaking at the successful conclusion of the bidding process, IOA President Narinder Batra said: "I thank Mrs Nita Ambani for her vision and leadership and also thank all my IOC Member colleagues for their support, I cannot wait to see you here in Mumbai next year. This is the start of a new era for India sport - an era that features the long-term goal of hosting the Olympic Games in India."

"We are ambitious and recognise our objectives are bold. But India is on an exciting journey and we want the Olympic Movement to play a central part in building a brighter future for our next generation. Delivering a truly memorable IOC Session in Mumbai in 2023, with a strong emphasis on youth potential, sustainability, and innovation, will be one of the first steps to showcase India's new sporting capacity," he added.

The session, to be held in the summer of 2023, will be hosted at Jio World Convention Centre in Mumbai.

An IOC session is the annual meeting of the members of the IOC, comprising 101 voting members and 45 honorary members. It discusses and decides on the key activities of the global Olympics movement including adoption or amendment of the Olympic Charter, the election of IOC members and office bearers and election of the host city of the Olympics.


First published: 19 February 2022, 14:22 IST