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RI ready for Asia’s biggest sporting event

The main objective of the Asian Games, the world’s second biggest sporting event after the Olympic Games, is to promote friendship, goodwill and understanding among Asian countries.  

Indonesia, the world’s fourth most populous country with more than 260 million people, looks to promote the aforementioned noble values by organizing the prestigious 18th Asian Games from Aug. 18 to Sept. 2, 2018, in Jakarta and Palembang cities.

According to the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA)’s website, www.ocasia.org, 45 countries will compete in 426 events during the Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games, which uses an emblem called “Energy of Asia.” Thousands of athletes will represent 4.5 billion people from all 45 Asian countries – ranging from Afghanistan to Yemen.

By hosting Asia’s biggest sports extravaganza, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo is set to showcase to Asian countries Indonesia’s greatness in maintaining harmony among various religions and different ethnic groups, hospitality and rich culture. It is hoped that the event boosts the country’s tourism industry.

Jokowi’s administration wants to instill through the Games values of excellence, teamwork, discipline, sportive spirit and friendly competition among Indonesian youths, who constitute almost one third of the total population.

Indonesia is a global powerhouse in badminton as its top shuttlers have won many gold medals at the Asian Games, the Olympics and numerous world championships. Apart from badminton, Indonesia is also good in weightlifting, archery, pencak silat, tennis and athletics.

Indonesia, a G20 economy, has hosted the Asian Games and multisport events in the past, including the fourth Asian Games in Jakarta with the theme Madju Terus (Ever Onward) from Aug. 24 to Sept. 4, 1962.

Then, for the first time in the history of the Asian Games, Indonesia not only won its first ever gold medal but also it won a record total 11 gold medals – five in badminton, three in cycling, two in athletics and one in diving – at the 1962 Games. In total, Indonesia has won 91 gold, 121 silver and 199 bronze medals since the first Asian Games in 1951.

Indonesia has a wealth of experience in organizing multisport and international sporting events. In 2013, Indonesia hosted the third Islamic Solidarity Games (ISG) in Palembang, one of the host cities of 18th Asian Games. A record 41 countries took part in the ISG, which saw Indonesia emerge as the overall champion with 36 gold, 34 silver and 34 bronze medals.

Previously, Indonesia also hosted the Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) four times – in 1979, 1987, 1997 and 2011. Jakarta and Palembang cohosted the 2011 SEA Games. It was this experience that resulted in the two cities being named cohosts of the 18th Asian Games in 2018, the first time in 66 years of Asian Games history that two cities will jointly host the event.

As a sport-loving nation, Indonesia participated in the previous 17 Asian Games and was one of the first countries to have floated the idea of organizing the Games.

During the historic Asian Relations Conference in New Delhi on March 23, 1947, the Indonesian delegation proposed that Asian countries have a pan-Asian sporting event. Host country India and other countries followed up on the idea, resulting in the first Asian Games in New Delhi in 1951.

Indonesia took part in the 1951 Games along with 10 other countries: India, Japan, Afghanistan, Burma (now Myanmar), Ceylon (Sri Lanka), Iran, Nepal, Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines. Indonesian athletes won five bronze medals in men’s high jump, men’s triple jump, men’s javelin throw, women’s discuss throw and women’s 4x100m relay.

As a founding member, Indonesia took part in the second and third Asian Games in Manila in 1954 and Tokyo in 1958, respectively.

Indonesia hosted the fourth Asian Games in Jakarta in 1962, winning 11 gold medals. A total of 372 gold medals were at stake in 13 sporting events and 1,460 athletes from 17 countries competed.

Indonesia won gold medals at almost all the subsequent Asian Games, including the fifth Games in Bangkok in 1966, sixth Games in Bangkok in 1970, the Tehran Games in 1974, the Bangkok Games in 1978, the New Delhi Games in 1982, the Seoul Games in 1986, the Beijing Games in 1990, the Hiroshima Games in 1994, the Bangkok Games in 1998, the Busan Games in 2002, the Doha Games in 2006, the Guangzhou Games in 2010 and the Incheon Games in 2014.

With its Energy of Asia emblem and mascots Bhin Bhin (Paradisaea Apoda), Atung (Hyelaphus Kuhlii) and KaKa (Rhinoceros Sondaicus), the Indonesia Asian Games Organizing Committee (INASGOC), under the able leadership of Erick Thohir, is ready to welcome all athletes, officials and sports fans from across Asia. 

Source: The Jakarta Post