India's bid to host the Commonwealth Games 2010 found overwhelming support at the opening ceremony of the first Afro-Asian Games, which opened in Hyderabad on Friday evening.
Deputy Prime Minister L K Advani, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, Union Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports Vikram Verma, Afro Asian Games Council president Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, Indian Olympic Association president Suresh Kalmadi and Afro-Asian Games Council secretary-general Randhir Singh declared that India has the wherewithal to host the Commonwealth Games.
Responding to Chandrababu Naidu's demand that India should make a strong bid for the Commonwealth Games of 2010, Advani said he saw the sentiments of the people at the GMC Balayogi stadium in favour of the demand.
"We will consider Naidu's demand. Whatever he says carries lot of weight. We cannot ignore it. Beyond this I would not like to say more," he added, and pointed out that the decision-makers concerned with the hosting of the Commonwealth Games are in Hyderabad to witness the ongoing Games.
"We are bidding for the Commonwealth Games. We have invited you [Commonwealth Games Association officials] to show that we are a billion people and we can host big events. We are a leading member of the Commonwealth but we never hosted the Commonwealth Games in the past. We can do it; give us a chance," Kalmadi said.
Verma, too, said India has a strong case for hosting the Commonwealth Games 2010. "By organizing the Afro-Asian Games we have demonstrated our capability to host major events such as the Commonwealth Games and ultimately the Olympics," he added.
Sheikh Al-Sabah also termed India as a modern sports nation.
"India can host the Commonwealth Games 2010 and we support their case," he pointed out.
Naidu said it is time India bid for the Games. Stating that everyone gathered in the jam-packed GMC Balayogi stadium to witness the opening ceremony of Afro-Asian Games supported India's bid for the Commonwealth and Olympic Games, he said representatives of the Commonwealth Games Association and the African and Asian Olympic Committees supported India in this endeavour."We have to bid for the Olympic Games. We are confident that we can conduct Olympic Games on par with any major country," he added.