By Paul Osborne

IOA President Narayana Ramachandran has categorically denied claims that India will bid to host the 2019 Asian Games ©Getty ImagesConflicting information has been emerging from the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) about whether it will bid to host the 2019 Asian Games with President Narayana Ramachandran denying claims the nation would put itself forward as a candidate.

Last month, IOA secretary general Rajeev Mehta talked of the body's desire to stage the Games following the withdrawal of original host Hanoi, Vietnam, saying it was banking on the next central Government to approve the plans.

"We want to host 2019 Asian Games after Vietnam's withdrawal," Mehta told Press Trust of India.

"We will take a final decision in the IOA General Body Meeting, which will be held most likely next month.

"We are waiting for the new Government to be formed and hoping to get its approval.

"We have all the infrastructure in Delhi.

"I feel it's a matter of getting Government approval."

These desires were given the support of the Sports Authority of India (SAI) just last week after secretary general Jiji Thomson talked of the organisation's backing of a potential bid from Delhi, which has hosted the Games on two previous occasions.

Narayana Ramachandran has categorically denied claims made by IOA secretary general Rajeev Mehta (right) that India were looking to bid for the 2019 Asian Games ©Hindustan Times via Getty ImagesNarayana Ramachandran has categorically denied claims made by IOA secretary general Rajeev Mehta (right) that India is looking to bid for the 2019 Asian Games
©Hindustan Times via Getty Images

Ramachandran, however, claimed there is no plan to launch a bid. 

"The IOA has not discussed it at all, so it would not be fair for me to discuss this," he said during the Sports Journalists Federation of India's 37th national convention in Hyderabad.

India had bid to host this year's Asian Games but lost out to Incheon, South Korea, in 2007.

Ramachandran claimed his main mission during his tenure at the IOA is to make the Association financially independent and free it from depending on the Government to fund athletes.

"We also have to commercialise the IOA," he added.

"The idea is to have enough sponsors for each national federation.

"Many companies are passionate about sports.

"We will go to them and see how much they can sponsor and tie them up.

"That way we are no longer dependent on the Government funds, like the United States Olympic Committee who do not take a single penny from the US Government.

"The IOA must strive to be financially independent."

With the contrasting views coming from India, it is still unsure whether the nation will attempt to bid for the 2019 Games.

Currently, Indonesia is tipped as favourites to replace Hanoi following their withdrawal for economical reasons, while Kaohsiung City in Taiwan and Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur reportedly remain interested.

The Chinese city Nanjing, due to host this year's Summer Youth Olympic Games, has also floated the idea of putting itself forward.

The Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) is due to choose a new host city on September 20 during the next edition of the Asian Games in Incheon.

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