Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The countdown clock at the Hotel Indonesia Roundabout in Central Jakarta seems to be ticking faster ahead of the opening of the Asian Games in August 2018.
The remaining eight-month journey in the run-up to the games will conclude without any significant results if the events organizing committee does not detail and test its preparedness to host the prestigious multi-sport event.
The Olympic Council of Asia has given a mandate to the Indonesian Asian Games Organizing Committee (INASGOC) to hold a trial event to identify its shortcomings and to ensure Jakartas readiness to co-host the Asian Games along with Palembang.
In response, the INASGOC plans to hold a trial tournament in February 2018. The tournament originally had 10 sports events: weightlifting, athletics, basketball, volleyball, badminton, archery, martial arts, football, taekwondo, and boxing.
However, at the end of October 2017, the badminton association withdrew from the trial tournament and instead opted to hold the Indonesia Master Games in January 2018 in preparation for the Asian Games.
"We have proposed to the INASGOC to utilize the 2018 Indonesia Masters tournament as Road to the Asian Games. This is a four-level tournament included in the calendar of the Badminton World Federation (BWF)," Secretary General of the All-Indonesia Badminton Association (PBSI) Executive Board Achmad Budiharto stated.
Budiharto cited two reasons for the PBSI to postpone the tournament as "Road to the Asian Games." PBSIs experience in organizing various international tournaments in Indonesia is its first strong reason.
"The second reason is that we want to help the government save a little bit of funds for the games. The budget fund for organizing the tournament Road to the Asian Games is far less than that for the INASGOCs official trial tournament," he revealed.
With the PBSI withdrawing from the trial tournament, only nine sports events will be organized to test Jakartas readiness to co-host the 18th Asian Games.
The Indonesian capital will receive guests from 45 Asian countries comprising 1,048 members of the Olympiad committee from each of the countries, 487 officials, and 1,991 athletes participating in the nine sports events.
During the trial tournament, several sports venues, including those at the Bung Karno Sports Stadium and Kemayoran International Expo building in Jakarta as well as in Bekasi, east of Jakarta, will be tested in terms of match management and scoring system connected to the information technology system.
The Bung Karno Sports Stadium complex will be used for athletics, archery, indoor volleyball, and 5x5 basketball, and the Jakarta International Expo for taekwondo, boxing, and weightlifting.
Martial arts will be held at the Martial Arts Club in Indonesia in the Miniature Park, while football will be held at the Patriot Stadium in Bekasi and Wibawa Mukti Stadium in Cikarang, West Java.
The athletes competing in the trial tournament will stay at the Asian Games Village in Kemayoran, Central Jakarta. The facility is also meant to ensure the preparedness of D10 and C2 tower blocks built on 10.6 hectares of land to accommodate the athletes. The D10 tower block comprises seven towers, while the C2 tower block has three towers.
Vice President Jusuf Kalla, who is also chief of the Asian Games Steering Committee, remarked that the Kemayoran athletes village is of better quality than those used during the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and the 2012 Olympic in London.
The athletes village will also have a transportation system using special buses for athletes and officials to travel to the sports venues at the Bung Karno Sports Stadium and Jakarta International Expo.
According to INASGOC, it will take not more than 30 minutes for athletes to travel from the athletes village to the Bung Karno Sports Stadium.
INASGOC Secretary General Eris Herryanto said the buses transporting the Asian Games athletes and officials will use the toll road section from the Kemayoran toll gate in Central Jakarta to Senayan toll gate in South Jakarta.
To hold the trial tournament, INASGOC will also involve the executive boards of the nine sports events assisted by volunteers who have cleared the selection test.
They will work hand-in-hand to ensure that the trial tournament will run according to the rules, as the same facilities will be used for the 2018 Asian Games.
The trial tournament will offer an opportunity for journalists to adjust their equipment and mechanism for the 2018 Asian Games.
INASGOC Broadcast Director Linda Wahyudi said in order to test the broadcast system, the organizing committee will broadcast live four of the nine sports. They are basketball, martial arts, football, and boxing.
"We will build a smaller broadcast center than the actual broadcast center to be used during the Asian Games in August 2018. However, we have not decided the location for the mini broadcast center," Wahyudi had noted in late Nov 2017.
In addition, INASGOC will prepare a media service center at the Jakarta Convention Center for journalists and photographers to work and access data on matches during the trial tournament.
INASGOC Chairman Erick Thohir stated that Indonesia will utilize the budget funds as efficiently as possible for organizing basketball, volleyball, and football during the trial tournament.
"We will only invite three instead of nine countries, as originally planned, to take part in the three sports events during the trial tournament," he pointed out.
However, he added that the executive board of each of the sport events has the authority to invite other countries to take part in the trial tournament.
Although Indonesia has organized several trial tournaments between July and December 2017 and plans to hold a simultaneous trial tournament for nine sports in February 2018, the executive boards of three sports -- gymnastics, roller sport, and bowling -- have not planned a trial tournament.
As the countdown clock ticks closer to the opening of the games, Indonesia should soon complete the preparations for the games, so that the 45 Asian countries will have a positive perception of the country, as the host of the prestigious multi-sport event.
Source: ANTARA News