Sun, Sep 02, 2018 - Page 11 News List

Asian Games: Indonesia reveals surprise Olympics bid

AFP, JAKARTA

Indonesia yesterday unveiled surprise plans to bid for the 2032 Olympics as it rides high from its Asian Games success.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo revealed the intentions after talks with International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach and Olympic Council of Asia president Sheikh Ahmad al-Fahad Al Sabah.

“Indonesia has planned to immediately register itself as a candidate for the 2032 Olympics host,” Widodo said in a televised statement. “With our experience in hosting this 18th Asian Games we, Indonesia, believe that we can and are capable to be a host for bigger events.”

Bach, who is expected to attend today’s closing ceremony, welcomed the announcement and said he was impressed by the Games.

“I could congratulate the president on the great success of the Asian Games,” Bach said. “Therefore, the IOC really appreciates the candidature of Indonesia for the Olympic Games in 2032.”

Erick Thohir, head of Games organizing committee INASGOC, said the discussions with Bach were “very friendly and enthusiastic.”

The Indonesian government would formally send a bid letter to the IOC after the Games, Thohir added.

Indonesia’s announcement reflects the growing clout and resources of Asian nations, which are to host three Olympics within four years.

After this year’s Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, Tokyo is holding the 2020 Summer Games and Beijing is to host the winter edition in 2022.

Indonesia stepped in at the last minute to host the Asian Games, which is similar to the Olympics in size.

Despite only having four years to prepare after original host Vietnam pulled out over financial concerns in 2014, the venues were finished on time and problems proved relatively minor.

Ticketing was one major headache for organizers, along with Jakarta’s notorious traffic.

Thohir said the Indonesian government was in discussions to host more major international sports events before the potential Olympics.

Indonesia is already due to host the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup along with Japan and the Philippines, he said.

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