Sports

OCA: Asian Games host Indonesia faces 'huge challenges'

The Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) warned yesterday that Indonesia faces "huge challenges" to prepare for the 2018 Asian Games, criticising a lack of coordination between different bodies organising the event.

Jakarta was awarded the games in 2014 after original host Vietnam withdrew due to financial problems, but the late decision meant the Indonesians had four years to prepare instead of the usual six.

Officials insist everything will run smoothly, but fears are mounting of a repeat of the 2011 South-east Asia Games in Indonesia, when some venues weren't ready on time and two people died in a stampede at the football final.

After a three-day visit by an OCA delegation to check on preparations, the organisation's director general Husain Al-Musallam said that there was some progress, particularly in the city of Palembang, which is co-hosting the Games with Jakarta.

But he added: "The challenge in front of the organising committee is huge."

He said "the challenge they have is the cooperation between themselves, between the different departments".

He said the bodies involved in organising the world's biggest multi-sport event after the Olympics - from those building the venues, to the broadcasters, to those who install the lights - were "not talking to each other".

The official said he thought that venues would be ready on time, but was still concerned about the lack of coordination.

Indonesia's sports ministry downplayed concerns, and said it was pushing to ensure major venues in Jakarta were ready by the end of October, in time to hold a series of test events.

"We are confident," said Gatot Dewa Broto, secretary of the ministry.

The Asian Games will run from Aug 18 to Sept 2 next year.

Indonesia last staged the event in 1962, in Jakarta.

- AFP