Maldives successfully won their bid to host the 2023 Indian Ocean Island Games after taking the lead against competitors Madagascar and Comoros Islands.
Comoros and Madagascar are comparatively more popular than Maldives among IOIG member nations. Geographically located closer to the rest of the IOIG member countries, the two countries enjoy close friendship with their neighbors while Maldives lies further away. However, the Maldives' game plan to win the IOIG bid proved to be more effective.
Since way before the Maldives succeeded in winning the bid, the Maldivian government's efforts in seeking the bid gave off an air of confidence of winning their venture. Speaking at the Presidents' Office before the Maldives contingent departed for this year's IOIG, President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih spoke with confidence that the Maldives would be successful in hosting the IOIG 2023.
The government began speaking about the bid openly when the Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid and Youth Minister Ahmed Mahloof departed on a visit to the four IOIG member countries. Even before the joint trip seeking support for the Maldives' bid, the Foreign Ministry, under Minister Shahid's initiation had begun efforts to pave way for the country to receive support from its friends.
The Maldives secured the vote of Mayotte and Réunion - two colonies under the French government, before embarking on the trip. The Maldivian government appealed directly to the French President Emmanuel Macron to seek the support of Mayotte and Réunion, through the French Ambassador to Maldives and Sri Lanka, Eric Lavertu. State Minister of the Foreign Ministry Ahmed Khaleel traveled to Sri Lanka to hand over the official request letter to Eric Lavertu.
"We received a response from the French government pledging their support. Therefore, we were very confident that Maldives will win the bid", a senior official from the Foreign Ministry told AVAS.
Minister Shahid and Youth Minister Mahloof also met with Seychelles President Danny Faure. During their meeting, the
Seychelles President also assured of their support to the Maldives in their bid to host the games, which further validated the government's efforts.
"Although the Prime Minister of Mauritius did not express assurance of their vote, we were confident that we will be receiving at least three votes, including our own vote and that of Réunion and Seychelles. It was from this point that the President and even Minister Shahid spoke so confidently of hosting the 2023 games in Maldives", said the official.
Then came the voting.
The IOIG council meeting held on Saturday at this year's IOIG host country, Mauritius saw the Maldives being selected to host the next IOIG. Including their own vote, Maldives received four votes from Seychelles, Réunion and Mauritius while Comoros and Madagascar received one vote each.
With three years to prepare for the event Maldives, President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has stated that the preparations for the event will be completed through development projects already pledged by the government.
President Solih acknowledged that public would have many concerns on hosting such a big event in the Maldives, such as how the necessary stadiums and courts will be constructed, and if Maldives has the financial capability to handle such a project. The President shared the government' plans on how to organize the event in the Maldives.
While the pledges of the government are being fulfilled, it will pave the way to host the games in Maldives, said the President. Although a lavish budget would not be allocated for the event, the athletes taking part in the event will receive full support and aid from the state for their training and preparations, the President had assured.
"A huge budget would not be allotted specifically for the event. We intend to provide resources through the country's development projects" said President.
Expressing that work is already underway to bring this vision to life, the President assured that his government will provide the resources and opportunities for local athletes to get ready within the four-year interval until the 2023 games. Seeing many young athletes taking part in this year's games give strength to the country's hopes to host IOIG 2023 in the Maldives, said the President.