Olympic Council of Asia's (OCA) honorary life vice-president Wei Jizhong expressed his satisfaction at the preparation of Indonesia in hosting the 18th Asian Games, which will get underway in Jakarta and Palembang on Saturday.
Jizhong, who has been with the OCA for decades, said that despite the challenges, Indonesia has done a very good job of hosting these games. He was speaking to the media during a visit to the main press centre in Jakarta yesterday morning.
“I have organised seven Asian Games before this one and each one is different. One cannot be compared to the other. However, I can say this one will be a very good games,” Jizhong said. “Things started slowly in the beginning, but gathered pace towards the end. There was little time, and we had to plan things from scratch. But except for minor things, everything is going very well.
The octogenarian was accompanied by other high-officials, including the head of the local organising committee. They were greeted with Kambung, a traditional Javanese dance performance, on their arrival at the MMC.
Meanwhile, the media and PR director of the Indonesia Asian Games Organising Committee, Muhammad Buldansyah, informed that they are planning to bid for the 2032 Olympic Games.
“The International Olympic Committee [IOC] president Thomas Bach will be here for the closing ceremony. Other IOC representatives will be here for the games and they will see for themselves the infrastructure and arrangement. We hope they will be impressed because these games will definitely be better than Incheon 2014,” the official said during a conversation.
“We have had to build some infrastructures for these games while we renovated the others that were already there. The infrastructures will be leased out to private companies and they will use it for various commercial purposes, so that the infrastructures will not stay unused,” Buldansyah said.
He also said that time was the biggest challenge in hosting these events, and they had to be on the fast-track to get things done. “We were handed the responsibilities towards the end of 2016. The Games village was started from scratch in early 2017. Another challenge, mostly a budget related one, was to have the games in two host cities. But we took Palembang on board because there were sporting infrastructures which were not in Jakarta.”
From a purely sporting perspective, he added that the host country is looking to better their standing on these multi-sport events, which would help bid for bigger things. Indonesia had won one gold and two silver medals from the 2016 Rio Olympic Games while they grabbed 20 medals in the Incheon Asian Games four years ago.
“We would ideally like to be placed within the top 10 nations on the medals table. We would like to have more medals than what we got in Incheon,” Buldansyah informed.
This is the second time Indonesia is hosting Asia's biggest multi-sport event, having hosted the Asian Games for the first time back in 1962.