There is “no doubt” that Singapore is capable of organising top sporting events, said International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach on Thursday (Apr 28).
Mr Bach, who is in Singapore for a one-day visit, was speaking to reporters during a lunch with the Singapore sports fraternity at Swissotel.
The event was also attended by Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) president Tan Chuan-Jin and Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Edwin Tong, among others.
When asked for his thoughts on Singapore’s recent bid for the 2025 World Athletics Championships, Mr Bach declined comment.
“I think there can be no doubt that Singapore can organise the first-class events on a world level but you may understand that I cannot comment on a particular candidature for one particular event,” he said.
“The quality of Singapore as an organiser – there can be no doubt that the entire world knows about (it).”
Sport Singapore (SportSG) had announced in March that Singapore is bidding to host the World Athletics Championships in 2025. Singapore has previously hosted the inaugural Youth Olympic Games in 2010, the Southeast Asian Games in 2015 and currently hosts the Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix.
If wins the bid, this would be the first time the championships will be held in Southeast Asia. Previous hosts of the event include London, Beijing and Moscow.
When asked if it would one day be possible for a Southeast Asian country like Singapore to host the Olympic Games, Mr Bach said yes.
“We are very open in the IOC. We have revolutionised the candidature procedure. We have also revolutionised the organisation of the Games, making them much more sustainable and feasible and being much more flexible than we have been in the past,” the German said.
“So the door is open but you can only organise any event including the Olympic Games if you’re interested and if you show this interest.”
Mr Bach noted that the sporting culture in Singapore is “very dynamic” and one which is making progress “all the time”.
He said: “We have seen this starting with the first ever Youth Olympic Games, under the great leadership of my friend and colleague, Ng Ser Miang (IOC vice-president).
“Now, Singapore is leading also with regard to the engagement in virtual sports and e-sports. Singapore is also giving a great example of the contribution of sport to society, be it with regard to sustainable development, or the fight against climate change, just to name two.”
“And all these, of course, are assets when you apply to be host of major international events, because this is what responsible sports organisers are looking for. That you have, of course, a reliable organiser but that you have an organiser who can clearly demonstrate that … you can make the world a better place through sport.”
Earlier in the afternoon, Mr Bach also revealed that Singapore is in the running to be the hosts for the first Olympic Virtual Sports Festival next year.
“We would be very pleased to have the inaugural Olympic Virtual Sports Festival here in Singapore,” he said.
“Singapore would be in a position for the second time to be a trailblazer. You had been a trailblazer with the first-ever Youth Olympic Games and maybe you can be a trailblazer again with the inaugural Virtual Sports Festival in 2023.”