MUMBAI (REUTERS) - India has changed its mind on submitting a late bid for the 2019 Asian Games after failing to meet an extended deadline, the secretary-general of the Indian Olympic Association told Reuters on Monday.
Hanoi was awarded the Games in November 2012 ahead of the Indonesian city of Surabaya but the Vietnamese capital stood down as hosts in April, fearing the multi-sport event would not be financially viable.
India made a late decision to bid for the Games and the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) extended its July 1 deadline by "a couple of days" for the country to submit a proposal.
IOA secretary-general Rajeev Mehta said the association had dropped the plan after failing to get an audience with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
"There is no more chance of bidding for the 2019 Asian Games," he said by telephone. "We had already sought an extension from the OCA which has ended and we failed in our efforts to meet the Prime Minister.
"Honestly, the time was too short. There's no one to blame ... neither the government nor the IOA. We tried our best but it was not enough."
Other IOA officials had warned there would not be enough time to launch a formal bid with a new government having only assumed power late in May.
On Monday, however, they presented a united front. "I fully support my secretary-general and what he has said. He has said it all," IOA president N. Ramachandran told Reuters from Chennai.
The Asian Games, which was held for the first time in 1951, typically features about 40 sports and is attended by athletes from 45 countries.
New Delhi hosted the first Asian Games in 1951 and the ninth in 1982. The Indian capital also hosted the 2010 Commonwealth Games, which was plagued by construction delays and corruption scandals.
The South Korean city of Incheon, which beat Delhi in the bidding process, will host the 17th version of the Games from Sept 19-Oct 4 this year.