Indonesian President-elect Joko Widodo has given his blessing to Jakarta and Palembang's attempt to step in and host the 2019 Asian Games following the withdrawal of initial hosts Hanoi earlier this year.
The Vietnamese capital withdrew in April due to economic pressures and Indonesia, which had finished runner-up in the initial race and has staged the Games only once before in Jakarta in 1962, emerged as the immediate front-runner to step in.
Although other countries - including India, Thailand, Malaysia and Taiwan - seriously considered whether to bid, only Indonesia is now left in the race.
Joko, elected President last month and due to formally replace Prabowo Subianto on October 20, expressed his support following a meeting with a delegation including the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) vice-president, Wei Jizhong, and Indonesian Olympic Committee chief Rita Subowo.
"According to the OCA, Jakarta would be a suitable host for the Games because our sports venues are ready," Joko said after the meeting.
"With the BMW Stadium finishing construction in two years, we will have one additional facility.
"South Sumatra also said it was ready to support the event.
"We can even start the preparation as soon as possible, with the organisation, sports facilities and the city's infrastructure.
"It's an honour for us as a nation to be able to hold such a prestigious sporting event.
"This is Indonesia's opportunity to not only promote our country, but to also show the world that we have the strength and capacity to successfully complete a huge task such as hosting the Asian Games."
Although a number venues would need to be constructed or rebuilt, including the Rawamangun Velodrome for cycling, Indonesia's hosting of the 2011 Southeast Asian Games means there are already a number of facilities ready.
Jizhong, a former International Olympic Committee member who was President of the International Volleyball Federation from 2008 until 2012, also expressed excitement over meeting the President-elect and having the chance to speak with him about the event.
"It's an honour for us to be received by the President-elect and the Jakarta Government," he said.
"The OCA has received a request from the Government of Indonesia that officially nominates Jakarta as the main host city.
"However, it [the letter] does not yet include Palembang because Jakarta must first be chosen by the Council [in September] before it can name Palembang as co-host.
"From what we have seen during our inspection [of the capital], we deem Jakarta to be a suitable candidate [to play host].
"The only suggestion we would make is to modernise the city's existing sporting facilities."
Positive sentiments were expressed by South Sumatra Governor Alex Noerdin, who is confident the Province's capital city would make a strong co-host, pointing out that Palembang had successfully hosted the 2011 Southeast Asian Games and the 2013 Islamic Solidarity Games.
"We're ready to host 23 sports disciplines, even now and we are confident we can succeed," he said.
A final decision will be taken at the OCA General Assembly on September 20 during the next edition of the Asian Games in Incheon.
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