Populous recruited to aid India’s 2036 Olympic bid

Featured image credit: hughiethethird / CC BY 2.0 / Edited for size

Officials in the city of Ahmedabad have reportedly recruited Populous to assist in planning for India’s potential bid for the 2036 Olympic Games.

The city’s Urban Development Authority (AUDA) has contracted the Brisbane-headquartered architecture and design firm to prepare a strategic masterplan for the proposed 2036 bid, according to the Times of India newspaper.

According to the report, Populous surveyors have already begun work mapping what are considered to be eight significant areas in the city – the home of the 132,000-capacity Narendra Modi Stadium, which will host this year’s ICC Cricket World Cup Final – and the wider Gujarat state.

“Over the past 15 days, the teams have carried out survey work, laying the foundation for the masterplan,” a senior official from the city reportedly said.

“The strategic masterplan takes into account the long-term development of the city, ensuring the optimal utilisation of existing or temporary infrastructure. Transport, accommodation, security, media services, and other supporting facilities will also be key considerations in the plan, enhancing the overall experience for athletes, spectators, officials, and visitors.”

The official added that Populous’ experience in designing and delivering major events, such as numerous Olympics and FIFA World Cups, will help the Ahmedabad bid team to align with the IOC’s New Norm reforms, which promote matters such as sustainability and affordability.

India’s national government and the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) have been in consultation over a potential bid since last year ahead of Mumbai hosting the 2023 International Olympic Committee (IOC) session in October.

AUDA recently announced its 2041 Development Plan, which would put sports infrastructure at the heart of Ahmedabad’s advancement over the next two decades. The current Gujarat state government was elected on a manifesto that included a commitment to bid for the Olympics.

India’s Sports Minister, Anurag Thakur, said late last year that the vast nation is “seriously” considering a bid to host the 2036 Olmypic Games.

The nation has previously hosted the Asian Games and the Commonwealth Games, and Thakur told the Times of India in December 2022 that it 2036 was the “right time” to host the Olympics.

“If India is making news in every sector, from manufacturing to services, then why not in the field of sports?” he said.

Other nations expressing interest in hosting the 2036 Games include South Korea, Indonesia, Germany, Qatar, Hungary, Turkey, Mexico, Egypt, Poland and UK. There is currently no timetable for awarding the Games, although Brisbane was awarded the 2032 edition in July 2021, 11 years ahead of them taking place.