Russia offered Wednesday to host a new multi-sports event for countries such as China and India which are members of a regional grouping known as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.
Russian President Vladimir Putin previously suggested creating the event at an SCO summit in September. His suggestion came at a time when Russia is excluded from many events in Olympic sports following its invasion of Ukraine last year.
Sports Minister Oleg Matytsin offered to host the so-called SCO Games in Russia at a meeting with sports officials from other SCO nations in India on Wednesday, his ministry said in a statement.
Moscow and Beijing created the eight-nation Shanghai Cooperation Organization that also includes India, Pakistan and four ex-Soviet nations in Central Asia as a counterweight to U.S. influence. The group has held regular summits and staged joint military drills.
Matytsin’s comments contained no details of when the event could take place, how large it would be or if it would be intended to rival the Olympics.
Russia is already involved in other regional multi-sport events on a relatively modest scale. Russia developed and hosted the inaugural CIS Games in 2021 for nine ex-Soviet countries, a competition largely overshadowed by the Tokyo Olympics held weeks before. There are also the Russia-China Youth Games, a junior event which Matytsin reportedly suggested in December could be expanded to include other SCO countries.