Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Indonesia, having been awarded the host of the 2018 Asian Games, is determined to do its best to ensure the success of the pan-Asian multi-sport event.
Indonesia, which took over as the host of the Games from Vietnam because of financial problems in 2014, is racing against time to renovate stadiums for the event.
The Games, which will be held in Jakarta and Palembang, will bring together around 10 thousand athletes from 45 countries to compete in 40 sports from Aug 18 to Sept 2, 2018.
With the midway appointment as the host of the 2018 Asian Games, Indonesia only has four years, instead of six years as usual, to make preparations for the event.
When the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) visited in March 2017, they were concerned about the slow preparations due to a lack of coordination.
However, OCA President Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah stated at a meeting with President Joko Widodo in October 2017 that he was pleased with Indonesias progress in making preparations for the event.
Preparations for the event are ongoing, with the Indonesia Asian Games Organizing Committee (INASGOC) currently finalizing its plan for the opening and closing ceremonies of the event.
"Our team will continue to work, and we hope to have a good plan in place by January or February. The opening and closing ceremonies are important events of the Asian Games," INASGOC Chairman Erick Thohir noted, after accompanying Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati and Public Works Minister Basuki Hadimuljono, during a visit to the Gelora Bung Karno sports complex in Senayan, Central Jakarta, on Thursday (Nov 23).
The opening and closing ceremonies of the 18th Asian Games must not be inferior as compared to those of the 2017 SEA Games held in Malaysia, which had cost US$25-35 million.
"We do not want to be lavish, but we also do not want to be inferior as compared to Malaysia. The opening and closing ceremonies for the Olympic Games will cost around $80 to $100 million," he stated, in connection with the budget for the Asian Games.
The government is committed to fully support fund for the 2018 Asian Games and the 2018 Asian Paragames.
Sri Mulyani stated that the government will do its best to finance the two events. The government has set aside budget funds for the events? organizing committee, the construction of infrastructures and facilities, and the preparations of athletes who will compete in the events.
?The budget funds have been disbursed since mid 2015,? she told the Kompas daily.
The daily quoted Vice President Jusuf Kalla, in the capacity as chairman of the 2018 Asian Games? steering committee, as saying that the government has allocated Rp30 trillion to make preparations for the 2018 Asian Games. The fund has been used to develop infrastructures and facilities, including competition arena and supporting transportation.
Sri Mulyani further noted that in the 2018 state budget, the government also has set aside the budget fund for the 2018 Asian Games and Paragames. The government also has prepared anticipatory steps to deal with unexpected needs, including the construction of supporting facilities.
?In organizing a big event, there are always facilities which may fall short of expectation ahead of the event. We will anticipate them,? she remarked.
Meanwhile, Public Works and Housing Minister Basuki Hadimuljono explained that the renovation of facilities and infrastructures for the two events, under the management of his ministry, has been running on schedule. The renovation of all competition arenas has been 90 percent completed and is scheduled for completion on Dec 31, 2017.
Over the past three years, the central government also has given full support to the Palembang city administration to prepare its supporting infrastructure, such as the 22-kilometer-long Light Rail Transit (LRT) transportation facility, which has now been 75 percent completed. The LRT project, worth around Rp10.9 trillion, will pass through 13 stations along the route from Sultan Mahmud Badaruddin II airport to Jakabaring Sport City.
The LRT system passing the left side of the iconic Ampera Bridge is expected to be operational before the Asian Games 2018 event begins.
Meanwhile, the first phase of the23-kilometer-long toll road from Palembang to Indralaya (Ogan Komering Ilir) has been completed and inaugurated by Widodo in October.
Venues in the Jakabaring Sport City Palembang, as the center of 11 events, only need alteration after being used for Southeast Asian Games XVII in 2011.
Athlete housing complex and flats, which will accommodate 800 committee members and some athletes, have also been almost ready.
Indonesia last hosted the Asian Games in 1962 in Jakarta, and for many Indonesians, the Games will be a chance to showcase the countrys sporting and economic success.
Source: ANTARA News