Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Asias biggest sporting event -- the Asian Games XVIII 2018 -- to be hosted by Indonesia is only eight months away.
Time is short, so Indonesia has been stepping up efforts to ensure that its preparations, including the ongoing infrastructure development, are on track.
The construction of new venues and renovation of sports facilities as well as the supporting infrastructure are part of the preparations being carried out now, and the progress could be witnessed by the people.
People in Jakarta and Palembang, Sumatra, -- the cities to co-host the event -- could personally witness the progress in accelerated efforts, including feeling their impact, such as traffic jams, air pollution, and noise.
The complex of the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium in Senayan, South Jakarta, which was used for hosting various public activities, is still closed to the public, as massive renovation work is underway.
Infrastructure development projects for the Asian Games 2018 are spread across various locations in Jakarta and Palembang.
Infrastructure development being carried out in Jakarta besides the Gelora Bung Karno projects are centered in Kemayoran where an athlete village is currently being developed as well as Rawamangun, the location of the bike race venue, and Pulo Mas, which will host the equestrian event. Light Rail Transit (LRT) tracks are also being laid in the city.
Final touches are being given to the Palembang rowing venue at the Jakabaring sports complex.
The LRT development from the SMB II airport to Jakabaring is being accelerated, so that it could be used ahead of the implementation of the games.
Parties involved in the development projects have all expressed optimism that the projects would be completed in time for the event held every four years.
Confirmation that infrastructure development for the Asian Games is still on track was made during a cabinet meeting led by President Joko Widodo in Bogor on Tuesday.
"Everything that needs to be done to support success in achievement, organization, and provision of facilities, God willing, has been on track," Coordinating Minister for Human Development and Culture Puan Maharani stated after the meeting.
The meeting was also attended by Vice President Jusuf Kalla, ministers and officials related to the Asian Games preparations, including Public Works Minister Basuki Hadimuljono, Sports Minister Imam Nahrawi and Committee Chief Erick Thohir, and Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan.
Keeping infrastructure development on track holds significance, as in February 2018, all arenas will have to be readied to host the official test event to meet the requirements of the Olympic Council of Asia.
The Ministry of Public Works, tasked with conducting most of the infrastructure development work, has made assurance that the projects will be completed in line with the target.
"I am optimistic that all work at Gelora Bung Karno would be completed and ready to host the test event in February 2018," Minister Hadimuljono said.
Gelora Bung Karno will be the heart of the Asian Games 2018 activities. Renovation work has currently reached 87.27 percent completion.
In Palembang, all renovation or arena development efforts seemed to face no hurdles. The development of the Jakabaring Sport City in Palembang and rowing facilities have reached up to 91.99 percent completion.
Test events will be staged on Feb 10-18 and feature sports, such as archery, athletics, badminton, basketball, boxing, football, martial arts, taekwondo, volleyball, and weight lifting.
Based on reports released by the Task Force for Asian Games 2918 Infrastructure on Nov 21, development of Gelora Bung Karno will be completed on time, as work has currently reached 96.62 percent.
Work on the training facility, Madya Indoor and Outdoor Tennis Stadium, Softball Stadium, Basketball hall, and Baseball field is expected to be completed in December, while the Hockey field, Archery facility, ABC Football Field, and Aquatic stadium are ready.
Despite optimism, progress must be maintained, since there is no room for miscalculation as the time to host the event draws closer.
Ideally, ahead of the event in August through September, work on all venues should have been completed, so that the athletes could use them for training, while people could also enjoy their grandeur.
Source: ANTARA News