Jakarta will now officially co-host the 2018 Asian Games with Palembang – while the city has been confirmed as host of the continent's 2017 Youth Games.
The Indonesian capital had been widely mooted as a likely replacement for the Youth Games after Sri Lanka was stripped of hosting rights earlier this year due to a host of organisational problems.
The event, last held in Nanjing in 2013, will now serve a dual purpose as a test event for the 2018 Asian Games, with it hoped that additional expenditure will be minimal.
While all events at the youth version will be held in Jakarta, it is currently thought that 11 sports during the Asian Games itself will take place in Palembang, the capital of South Sumatra and on a different island from Jakarta, which is a 45 minute flight away on Java.
insidethegames understands, however, that the final list of sports has not been approved and there are still some disagreements over what events will be held where.
It had always been planned for some events to be held in Palembang, although today’s decision officially makes it a co-hosted Games, and they will now be known as the Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games 2018.
This agreement was made on the condition that both the Opening and Closing Ceremony, and the main Athletes’ Village, would remain in the capital city, while there would be “convenient transportation links” between the two.
Speaking here following a presentation at today’s Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) General Assembly, OCA President Sheikh Ahmad Al Fahad Al-Sabah described the decision as “in compliance with the Olympic Agenda 2020 reforms of IOC President Thomas Bach”.
It highlighted the solidarity of the organisation of the Games, he added, following the path set by the 2011 Asian Winter Games co-hosted by the Kazakhstan cities of Astana and Almaty.
But it is clear there are still many hurdles to clear, with some concerned about the practical difficulties of attending a Games on two different islands, as well as of other financial matters.
An official from the Indonesian Sports Ministry told insidethegames the short-time frame to organise the Games was a challenge, but that they remain confident everything will be prepared on time.
A new aquatics centre and velodrome will be built, he said, but most other venues exist already or require only renovation work.
Indonesia was awarded the Games at last year's OCA General Assembly in Incheon after Vietnam withdrew its hosting rights earlier in the year, citing economic pressures.
The Games were initially due to be held in 2019 to avoid a clash with the Winter Olympics and FIFA World Cup, but were shifted back to 2018 due to the following year's Indonesian Presidential Elections.
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