Gulf & Middle East
Money power could decide 2014 Asian Games bid
Apr 16, 2007 - 5:33:47 PM

Kuwait City, April 16 - Money power could well play a significant role in choosing the winner of the 2014 Asian Games bid here Tuesday, especially after Delhi's rival, South Korean city Incheon, offered $20 million to the voting countries.

India, which hosted the inaugural games in 1951 and then 1982, will not only have to match that amount but offer a 'surprise' package for the 45 countries that will vote at the Marriott Hotel Tuesday.

India might well win in the end, but the body language of the bulging Indian delegation and the accompanying celebrities did not indicate Monday that Delhi was going to be a runaway winner.

It would be a tough and close fight, said experts, even as the Indian officials sounded confident.

'We are confident of winning,' said both Indian Olympic Association - president Suresh Kalmadi and Indian Ambassador here M. Ganapathi in unison.

Minister of State for Women and Child Development Renuka Chowdhury exuded confidence that India's tourism industry could favour Delhi.

'I agree that the people who would come to India if we win will not vote tomorrow, but the tourism industry could still play a part,' Chowdhury told IANS.

Kalmadi said that with Incheon offering big money, Delhi would do 'something' when voting takes place Tuesday.

'We will have to do something,' he said with a mischievous smile, hinting that IOA would again come up with a surprise offer like it did to win the 2010 Commonwealth Games for Delhi.

Delhi, which was competing against Hamilton, had then offered $100,000 each to the 71 countries for preparation of athletes for the 2010 Games.

Delegations from India and South Korea, who arrived here Saturday morning, were seen canvassing vigorously in the hotel lobby Monday, and some local Indians even shouted 'Go For Delhi', the official slogan of the Delhi bid.

Among the politicians, celebrities and athletes who have arrived here to boost the Delhi bid are long jumper Anju Bobby George, shooter Rajyawardhan Singh Rathore, hockey Olympian Aslam Sher Khan, Haryana Tourism Minister Kiran Chowdhary and of course Randhir Singh, who is secretary-general of both Olympic Council of India and IOA.

Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit is expected here Monday evening.

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