With the Asian Games 2018 set to begin from Saturday this week, thousands of athletes are flying to Indonesia to participate in the tournament. But as per news agency AFP, the world’s second-biggest multi-sports event will take place in the country amid a backdrop of terrorism fears, environmental concerns, and logistical headaches. The report adds that despite organisers claiming that the arrangements to host the tournament, which will see 16,000 competitors and officials making their way to Jakarta and Palembang, are up to the task, it has done little to dispel the immediate concerns.
The opening ceremony of the tournament, which is set to take place on Saturday, will take place just three months after Indonesia suffered their deadliest terror attack in over 10 years, with suicide bombers killing 13 people in the city of Surabaya. A report from AP adds that the country has deployed 100,000 police and soldiers to provide security for the Asian Games, the biggest event ever held in its terror attack prone capital Jakarta, parts of which have been dramatically spruced up as the city readies to welcome tens of thousands of athletes and visitors.
The haze and pollution in the country from forest fires is another rising concern. The tournament officials are also trying to solve the problems related to heavy traffic on roads in Jakarta with dedicated lanes, banning odd and even license plate numbers on alternate days and closing down schools.
The preparation of the tournament has already seen a series of minor hiccups – from misspelled signs to using a nylon mesh to hide foul-smelling toxic waterway running past the athlete’s village. The fans during a football match in Palembang recently ripped apart the seats at an Asian Games stadium after a match, while the country’s first light rapid transit railway suffered a series of malfunctions.
The country last hosted the 2011 Southeast Asian Games in Jakarta and Palembang, which gained limelight for corruption and delays. But the chief organiser Erick Thohir promised last week that the tournament will go without any problems this year. “There are no problems for the preparation so far,” he said. “Even if we have problems we will solve them right there, right then,” he added.
Asian Games, a multi-sport event for all Asian countries, is set to take place in the Indonesian cities of Jakarta and Palembang from August 18 to September 2, 2018. This is the 18th edition of the tournament, which first began in 1951 in New Delhi, and it is set to host around 10,000 athletes in 40 sports from 45 countries.