An Indian delegation made up of IOC Member Mrs Nita Ambani, Indian Olympic Association (IOA) President Dr Narinder Batra, Youth Affairs and Sports Minister Mr Anurag Singh Thakur, and India's first individual Olympic gold medallist (Beijing 2008, shooting), Mr Abhinav Bindra, who is a member of the IOC Athletes’ Commission, made a remote presentation to the IOC Members.
The 139th IOC Session elected Mumbai to become the host of the IOC Session in May-June 2023 (exact dates to be confirmed) by 75 yes votes of the 76 valid votes cast.
The decision by the IOC Session, meeting in Beijing for the Olympic Winter Games 2022, follows the proposal of the IOC Executive Board (EB) made in March 2020, upon the recommendation of the IOC Session Evaluation Commission.
The Commission had visited Mumbai in October 2019 to study the feasibility of hosting the IOC Session in the city. It praised in particular the quality of the facilities at the Jio World Centre, which will be the venue for the IOC Session.
It is gladdening to note that India has been chosen to host the 2023 International Olympic Committee Session. I am confident this will be a memorable IOC session and will lead to positive outcomes for world sports: PM @narendramodi #StrongerTogether— PMO India (@PMOIndia) February 19, 2022
The Commission was also impressed by the potential of India as a country, which is the world’s sixth largest economy and has a population of 1.3 billion people, 60 per cent of whom are under 35.
IOC President Thomas Bach said: “We have chosen India because it is the second most populous nation in the world, with a very young population and a huge potential for Olympic sport. We want to encourage and support the National Olympic Committee of India and all the National Federations to promote and strengthen Olympic sport in the country.”
It is hoped that hosting the IOC Session in India will highlight the role of sport in the country and celebrate the contribution of India to the Olympic Movement.
Mr Bindra pledged that Mumbai will “step up in every way, with its resilient spirit, as sport helps the world return to normality,” and spoke about the “excitement at the potential to inspire 1.3 billion people to the spirit of sport and Olympic values.”
Mrs Ambani added: “Since we last had the honour of welcoming the Olympic family, we have made consistent strides and grown into a more prosperous, more self-confident India.”
To coincide with the IOC Session in 2023, Mrs Ambani proposed to launch a series of elite sports development programmes for young people across deprived communities: “I believe this is only the beginning and it is time to elevate our partnership with the Olympic Movement to greater heights,” she said, referring to the country’s ambition to host the Olympic Games in the future.
Mr Batra explained that: “In recent years, India as a nation has embraced sports and fitness. There is a strong belief sports can provide fundamental shifts in our society. Amongst our first steps in showcasing new India’s sports capabilities to the world is our proposal to host the IOC Session in Mumbai 2023.”
Finally, Mr Singh Thakur spoke about the Indian government’s vision of India becoming one of the world’s leading sporting nations. “It is my firm belief that the Olympic Movement can help accelerate our vibrant nation in the right direction. Hosting the IOC Session in 2023 will demonstrate our ambition and elevate the potential of our partnership.”
The year 2023 will be significant for India as it coincides with the 75th anniversary of its independence. Hosting the IOC Session in Mumbai will put the Olympic Movement at the heart of those celebrations.