The National Games, which have been repeatedly postponed for various reasons, will take place in Gujarat in September and October, as per Rajiv Mehta, secretary-general of the IOA. The Gujarat Olympic Association and the state government jointly indicated their interest in hosting the Games.
"The Gujarat government wrote to us that it backs the expression of interest of the state Olympic Association to host the Games and we are happy to accept their proposal," Mehta said. "The Games will be held in five or six cities in Gujarat, including Ahmedabad in September-October. The exact dates will be announced after a few days. We are happy that the Games will be held after a lot of delays," he added.
Mehta claimed that because the IOA intended to organize the Games this year after several delays, the top brass made the choice in a "short time." "The top brass has the power to make the decision and take the approval of the general house of the IOA later. In any case, we have taken the approval of many NSFs and state bodies via email. We are also going to call a General Body Meeting to ratify some important decisions as well as the hosting of the National Games. We are going to approach Delhi High Court and Supreme Court (where cases involving IOA are pending) to allow us to call a GBM," Mehta said.
Kerala hosted the last National Games in 2015, while Goa was slated to hold the 36th one in November 2016. The Games were further postponed to 2020 after two delays in 2018 and 2019 resulting from the state's failure to provide appropriate infrastructure. The National Games were further delayed because of COVID-19, and the Goa government was still unsure of its ability to organize them this year.
"Goa has told IOA that they are not going to be able to host the National Games this year. So, let Gujarat hosts the Games, which is good for everybody. We feel Gujarat has the capability as the state government has backed the proposal. We can then host the National Games one after the other, like in Uttarakhand, Andhra Pradesh, Meghalaya."
He said that because Gujarat currently has top-notch facilities for several sports, the state can offer the necessary infrastructure to hold the National Games in such a short period of time.
"Gujarat already has top facilities and we are certain that the state can host the Games. The strong backing by the state government clinched the issue. Of course, teams from IOA will inspect the facilities."