Gulf & Middle East
Pakistan's full support to Delhi's Asian Games bid
Apr 16, 2007 - 11:16:57 PM

Kuwait City, April 16 - The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation - countries, particularly Pakistan, threw their weight behind Delhi's bid to host the 2014 Asian Games Monday, a day ahead of crucial voting here.

'There is no reason to believe that Pakistan will not support Delhi tomorrow. We are fully backing Delhi,' Pakistan Olympic Association - president Syed Arif Hasan told IANS.

A total of 45 countries will vote to choose between Indian capital Delhi and Incheon, the third largest city of South Korea, in what is being considered a close and tough fight as of now. Incheon's bid is said to be worth $18.2 billion.

'India and Pakistan have supported each other historically in sports, and we will vote for Delhi again,' asserted Hasan, who was Monday elected vice-president of the South Asian region of the Olympic Council of Asia -.

Abdul Khaleq Khan, secretary-general of the POA, also said that there was no doubt that, not just Pakistan but, all seven other nations in the SAARC would vote for Delhi.

'It's automatically understood. Historically, we have had good sports relations between India and Pakistan. The bid and facilities that India is offering are unprecedented,' he said without disclosing the details for obvious reasons.

'My assessment is that Delhi will win. It is because India has also honoured the commitments, both in cash and kind, it made while bidding for the 2010 Commonwealth Games. The unity of South Asia stands, there's not an iota of doubt about it,' he emphasised.

India defeated Hamilton after it offered $100,000 each to the 71 countries for the 'preparation of athletes' for the 2010 Games.

While Pakistan promised its own and the SAARC's support for Delhi, the Indian Olympic Association - secretary-general is said to be also confident of getting the vote and support of the Middle East region, comprising Kuwait.

Indian Ambassador to Kuwait M. Ganapathi also hinted at this country's support when he outlined Kuwait's age-old relations with India.

'The two countries have been friends for a long, long time. This is evident from the fact that till the early 1960s the Indian currency was in circulation in Kuwait,' he said as he spent Monday at the Marriott hotel along with his staff coordinating with IOA officials in canvassing.

On Monday, it was disclosed that Incheon has offered $20 million to the 45 countries, also for the 'preparation of athletes' for the 2014 Games.

India hosted the inaugural Asian Games in 1951 and then 1982, and both times the venue was Delhi.

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