India to contend strongly for hosting of 2020 Olympics: Kalmadi

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Pune, Jun 29 (UNI) Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president and MP Suresh Kalmadi today said India will make a strong bid for hosting the 2020 Olympic Games.

Speaking at the closing ceremony of the Olympic Week celebrations at the Ganesh Kala Krida Manch here, Kalmadi asked the sportspersons to strive hard to garner medals both at the 2008 Commonwealth Youth Games (CYG) and the 2010 Commonwealth Games to be held in New Delhi.

The success of the twin games, to be held in the country for the first time, will certainly serve as the barometer for the bid for the 2020 Olympics, he pointed out.

He claimed Pune is now turning into a silicon city by overtaking Bangalore and Hyderabad, and appealed to companies to develop Olympic-level sports.

Unlike the past when medicine and engineering were the main attractions, the first choice of sportspersons would be job offerings in the IT sector in near future, he pointed out.

Laying emphasis on the third CYG, Kalmadi called upon the sportspersons from Maharashtra to cash in on the opportunity by earning the medals.

The IOA chief also reminded the sportspersons that the state government has already announced cash incentives namely Rs 10 lakh for gold, Rs seven lakh for silver and Rs five lakh for bronze medal winners.

Kalmadi praised the Maharashtra Olympic Association (MOA) for celebrating the week in a befitting manner.

On the occasion, he felicitated former Olympians namely wrestlers Maruti Mane Bhanda Patil (1964 Tokyo), Harishchandra Birajdar and Maruti Adkar (1972 Munich). Marathon runner Balkrishna Akotkar (1964 Tokyo), ace sprinter Adille Sumariwalla (1980 Olympics), women's hockey player Rekha Bhide (Mundphan) (1980 Moscow), Kamlesh Mehta (Table Tennis) and Manoj Pingale (Boxing) represented in the 1988 Seoul Olympics.

They were presented with traditional shawl, coconut and a memento each.

Kalmadi earlier flagged off the ''Olympic Day'' run participated by over 700 runners, which commenced from Deccan Gymkhana, the birth place of the Olympic movement in India. After going through the main thoroughfares of the city, it ended at the Nehru stadium. The run, however, brought the curtain down on the week-long celebrations on the Olympic Week.

Besides the members of the MOA Executive Committee, the function was largely attended by former Arjuna and Chhatrapati awardees along with a host of dignitaries.

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