Indonesia mull Olympics bid after Asiad success

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Indonesian President Joko Widodo (C) poses with Indonesian Asian Games athletes and officials at the presidential palace in Jakarta, Indonesia August 8, 2018 in this photo taken by Antara Foto. Picture taken on August 8, 2018. REUTERS

JAKARTA (Reuters) – Buoyed up by the success of hosting the ongoing Asian Games, Indonesia will bid for the 2032 Olympics, President Joko Widodo said on Saturday.

Since Aug. 18, the Southeast Asian country has been holding the biggest multi-sport event outside the Olympics and, apart from some long-running ticketing difficulties, the Games, which concluded yesterday, had gone fairly smoothly.

“With the experience we have in running the Asian Games, we are sure we can host an even bigger event,” Widodo said in a statement after meeting the heads of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Asian Olympic Committee.

“Therefore, Indonesia plans to immediately submit itself as a candidate to host the Olympics in 2032.”

IOC president Thomas Bach said Indonesia’s Asiad success would serve as strong foundation for their Olympic bid.

“The IOC really appreciates Indonesia’s candidature for 2032,” the German said.

“With the great success of the Asian Games, Indonesia has demonstrated it has all the ingredients to organise Olympic Games in a very successful way.”

“It’s a great decision which gives the youth of this young country a vision for the future and capitalises on the success of the Asian Games.”

Should Indonesia get the opportunity to host the Summer Olympics, it would become the fourth Asian country to do so, after Japan, China and South Korea.

Tokyo will host the next Summer Olympics in 2020, with Paris holding the 2024 Games and Los Angeles confirmed as hosts for four years later.

The head of the Asian Games organising committee Erick Thohir said Widodo had had a fruitful meeting with the IOC president who was expected to attend yesterday’s closing ceremony. “Our president asked the president of IOC Thomas Bach if it was possible for Indonesia to become one of the candidates for Olympic 2032,” Thohir told reporters in Jakarta.

“Bach accepted Indonesia as one of the host candidates. We are going to send a letter to the IOC after the Asian Games.”

Indonesia stepped in to stage the Asian Games after original host Vietnam pulled out in 2013 citing cost concerns.

Thohir admitted the Games had not been “100 percent” success but said the organisers did their best to solve the problems.

“If we are going to host the 2032 Olympics, we are going to try to be the best host.

“We’ll face a lot of hurdles. We don’t know the bidding process. After the Asian Games, we’ll sit with the Indonesian government.”

The country should host more international events to be ready for 2032, he said.

“We will host the FIBA (basketball) World Cup in 2023 with the Philippines and Japan. Many of our venues are actually world class. So we should try to host more world-level events.”

Indonesia have exceeded their own expectations in their second Asiad at home, claiming 31 gold medals so far to lie fourth in the medals table.

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