Indonesia’s Minister of Public Works and Housing, Basuki Hadimoeljono, has insisted that construction and renovation work will be completed in time for the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta and Palembang.
Hadimoeljono attended an Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) Athletes’ Committee meeting in the Indonesian capital Jakarta, with the Government official seeking to reassure the OCA and further detail their planning for the Games.
It was announced last September that Palembang would officially become a co-host for the Games, although the capital of South Sumatra is located on a different island from Jakarta.
“I want to convince you that our preparations are on the right track,” said Hadimoeljono.
“Please believe us that we are going to stick to our schedule.
“We are going to fulfil our target, not only the venues but the surroundings, to provide open space in the city.”
Hadimoeljono, in particular, referred to work being carried out on the Athletes’ Village and 14 venues inside the Gelora Bung Karno (GBK) sports complex, located in downtown Senayan.
The Athletes’ Village, which will house over 22,000 people in two blocks, is expected to be fully constructed and furnished by November 2017.
Among the venues to be renovated are the Senayan main stadium, which was built for the 1962 Asian Games, as well as the aquatic centre and the indoor and outdoor courts for badminton, archery, tennis and hockey.
Renovation work has been targeted at being completed by July 2017, with the Games then due to take place the following year from August 18 to September 2.
Around 10,000 athletes from 45 countries and regions are expected to compete at the 18th edition of the Games.
Japan’s Koji Murofushi, the new chairman of the OCA Athletes’ Committee, thanked Hadimoeljono for the update and then joined fellow Committee members on a venue tour around the GBK sport complex.
They were also able to inspect the new velodrome and the upgraded equestrian venue.
Murofushi explained to the delegates at the Committee meeting, which reviewed projects from the previous Olympic cycle, including the athletes’ forum, how to encourage National Olympic Committees to form their own athletes’ commission, of his aim to expose Asia to the world.
“We should think about the future Asian athletes,” said the Athens 2004 Olympic hammer throw champion.
“Of course we have many challenges and obstacles because our continent is so big that it is not easy to control, but that is our mission.
“With the next Winter Olympics at Pyeongchang, South Korea, in 2018, followed by Tokyo 2020 and the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, the world is watching us - and it is time to move.”