Cricket in Olympics will attract opportunities in newer geographies: Nita Ambani


MUMBAI: India’s International Olympic Committee (IOC) member, Nita Ambani, on Monday hailed the inclusion of cricket in the programme for the Los Angeles 2028 and said the sport’s addition will create a “deeper engagement” for the Olympic movement across newer geographies in the world.
Cricket’s inclusion was formally ratified by the IOC at the 141st IOC Session here, following a review by the IOC’s Olympic Programme Commission (OPC) and Executive Board (EB).
Terming the decision as “historic”, Ambani, who owns franchises in Indian Premier League (Mumbai Indians), Major League Cricket (MI New York) and Women’s Premier League, said it will boost the cricket’s popularity globally. Excerpts from an interaction…
Your thoughts on cricket’s return to the Olympic fold…
Ambani: It’s a historic decision to have cricket part of the Olympics. This will deepen the engagement not only with 1.4 billion Indians but also the South Asian countries. I am a huge cricket fan and completely welcome this landmark announcement. Cricket is one of the most loved sports globally and the second most watched sport. From 1.4 billion Indians, cricket is not just a sport, it’s a religion. I am delighted that this historic resolution was passed at the 141st IOC Session in Mumbai. The inclusion of cricket will create deeper engagement before the Olympic movement in newer geographies. At the same time, it will provide a boost to cricket’s growing international popularity.
Decision couldn’t have come at a better time when India is hosting the men’s cricket World Cup…
Ambani: There can’t be any better occasion to have cricket declared as part of the Olympic Games programme. It’s great that the decision has come at a time when we are organising the World Cup. We are having an IOC Session after 40 years and things have come together at the right time. I am delighted. Lots of celebrations and jubilations to have this included as an Olympic sport for LA28.
Tell us about the crucial role you played in convincing the IOC to include cricket in the Games programme?
Ambani: I had been batting to have cricket included as an Olympic sport from the time I became an IOC member. We had been discussing it a lot. There were deliberations which happened for more than two years. The IOC was receptive to the idea and forthcoming. It has finally dawned that cricket is now part of the Olympic family.
LA28 Organising Committee (OC) said during the presentation that the popularity of IPL influenced its decision…
Ambani: IPL is one of the most popular leagues around the world. I was there at the Dallas stadium because MI New York won the MLC title as well. I saw a lot of crowd interest, not only from the Indian diaspora but the locals as well. This shows that cricket’s popularity has grown exponentially.

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