Maldives chances of hosting the Indian Ocean Island Games (IOIG) 2023 has narrowed down, says Sports Minister Ahmed Mahloof.
Noting that the IOIG 2023 is to be held in March or April, the minister emphasized that they have two years left for preparations. He added that this work has since “doubled”.
He said that the country's current economic situation following the Covid-19 pandemic, has reduced the chances of hosting the next Indian Ocean Island Games. Noting the expenses required in organizing such a big event, Mahloof said that the country cannot afford to do so given the current situation.
The minister said that they had aimed to complete all the big projects related to the games this year. He stressed that the biggest difference between Maldives and other nations is that they already have the required facilities to hold these games, but that Maldives has to establish the facilities in time for the games.
Over 3,500 athletes are to participate in the games, and Mahloof said that they have to acquire 50 buses just for opening and closing ceremonies alone.
Further noting that their plan was to bring in an international expert to assist in the preparations, Mahloof said that this decision will now be made by the ministerial committee formed by the president. He added that the committee is to meet to discuss the matter “soon”.
The minister further said that even if the decision is made against hosting IOIG 2023, that the government’s pledges to establish quality sports facilities will be fulfilled.
Maldives was selected to host the 11th edition of the Indian Ocean Island Games (IOIG), to be held in 2023, in July 2019.
During the IOIG council vote, Maldives led the votes with four votes in its favor while Comoros and Madagascar who also presented their bids, followed behind with just one vote each.
While the Indian Ocean Island Games is the first international sports tournament the Maldives competed in, it is also the first opportunity for Maldives to host such a tournament.