‘100% in favour of it’

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Cricket fans have always wished to see their favourite sport being played at the prestigious Olympics. Their dream might just become a reality as the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Los Angeles 2028 Olympics (LA28) Organising Committee is set to make a recommendation on which of the shortlisted additional sports could be incorporated in the final program of the LA28 Summer Olympic Games.

Legendary tennis star Leander Paes was present at the ICC ODI World Cup trophy tour to the Eden Gardens in Kolkata alongside women’s cricket stalwart Jhulan Goswami. India’s only Olympic medallist in tennis batted for the reintroduction of cricket for the 2028 edition of the Summer Olympic Games, which will be held in Los Angeles.

“I think the Olympics stands for unity,” Paes, an 18-time Grand Slam champion, said during the men’s ODI World Cup trophy tour at the Eden Gardens stadium in Kolkata on Friday. “The Olympics stands for bringing people together – not just cross-country and cross-continent, but also cross-sport. So, I am 100% in favour of cricket coming into the Olympics,” Paes said at the event.

It is interesting to note that cricket was played at the Olympics for the last time in the 1900 Paris Games and Great Britain and France were the only two teams that participated. Great Britain went on to secure the gold medal by virtue of winning the match by 158 runs.

Indian women’s team participated in the Commonwealth Games last year and the quality of contests was very high: Jhulan Goswami

In 2022, the India women’s team took part in the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. It was the first time cricket was included as an event since a List A men’s tournament was held at the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Australia won the gold medal, beating India in a nail-biting final. Jhulan Goswami reminisced about the event and said she is looking forward to watching cricket being played at the Olympics in 2028.

“As cricketers, unfortunately, we were not able to participate earlier on the Olympic platform, but last year, the India (women’s) team participated in the Commonwealth Games, and the (quality of) contests was very high. Australia and India were the finalists. Unfortunately, India couldn’t win the gold medal, but I am really looking forward to LA 2028. Probably six teams will participate and I hope India is one of those six teams; I am really looking forward to that,” the former Indian pacer said.


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