Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdulla Shahid presented an official letter to the government of Madagascar requesting support for Maldives' bid to host the 2023 Indian Ocean Island Games (IOIG).
The letter, written by President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, was handed over to the Special Representative of the Prime Minister of Madagascar and acting Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hajo Andrianainarivelo.
In the letter, Maldives requested the opportunity to host its first ever IOIG. Madagascar, which hosted the games twice before, presented a bid to host the 2023 IOIG along with Maldives, Comoros and Mauritius.
The foreign minister and Minister of Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment Ahmed Mahloof are key members of President Solih's Special Envoy, which was formed to garner support for Maldives' bid to host the 2023 IOIG.
During their visit to Madagascar, the two ministers also met President of the Madagascar's Olympic Committee, Siteny Thierry Randrianasoloniaiko.
Following a meeting with President of Seychelles Danny Faure, Minister Mahloof affirmed that the Seychelles government would fully support Maldivian efforts to host the IOIG as well as work to establish closer relations with Maldives in areas concerning youth and sports.
The remaining stops on the envoy's trip are Comoros and Mauritius, the latter of which is the location for IOIG 2019. The two ministers are scheduled to participate in the opening ceremony of the games.
A team of Maldivian athletes will be participating in this year's IOIG which will be held from June 18 to 29.
Every country that presented a bid to host the next games will be visited by an IOIG delegation, which will inspect their respective resources and capacities. In the past week, a delegation from IOIG visited Maldives and met several government authorities.
President of the IOIG council and Seychelles Olympic Committee President Antonio Gopal previously stated that Maldives' bid is likely to be successful.
The location of the 2023 IOIG will be announced at the closing ceremony of the 2019 games. Gopal stated that the late announcement is intended to ensure the best decision.
Although Maldives expressed interest in hosting this year's games during 2015, the endeavour was unsuccessful due to lack of government support and shortage of time.
Hosting international sporting competitions is a pledge of the current administration. President Solih greenlighted the suggestion of Maldives Olympic Committee (MOC) to bid for IOIG 2023 in February.
The current national development plan includes arrangements for sports infrastructure within five developmental zones. Therefore, any international sporting events held in Maldives will be spaced across the country instead of being focused in the capital city of Male'.