India say cricket has no place in Asian Games

Published: Thursday, December 14, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Doha:India will not include cricket in the Asian Games if New Delhi wins the right to host the 2014 edition, the country's sports chief has said.

"I am not in favour of having cricket at the Asiad because it is not an Olympic sport," Indian Olympic Association president Suresh Kalmadi told reporters here on Thursday.

"I know cricket is a religion in India and draws huge crowds wherever it is played in the country.

"But we do not want Olympic sports to be overshadowed by one sport. Frankly, I don't want it at the Asian Games."

Kalmadi's comments came after Olympic Council of Asia chief Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah had said earlier that discussions were on to introduce cricket at the Asian Games.

"It would be wonderful to have India and Pakistan and all the other Asian countries that play cricket competing at the Asian Games," Sheikh Ahmad said here on December 5.

"We have started discussions on including it and they are ongoing."

It also follows an announcement on Wednesday that the 2008 South Asian Games in Bangladesh will feature cricket for the first time.

New Delhi is competing with the South Korean city of Incheon to host the 2014 Asian Games. The OCA will decide the venue in April next year.

India is the financial hub of world cricket and generates an estimated 80 percent of revenue for the International Cricket Council.

Cricket was last seen at a major multi-sport event in the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur but was dropped for the next two editions in England and Australia, two major cricketing powers.

The sport made its one and only appearance at the Olympics in Paris in 1900 where, in a two-day match, Great Britain - represented by a touring team Devon and Somerset Wanderers - beat France, whose team mainly consisted of members of the British Embassy.

No gold medal was awarded. The British received a silver medal while the French received a bronze and both also got statues of the Eiffel Tower.


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