Indonesia replaced Vietnam to host the next Asian Games in 2018.


While the recent 17th Asian Games, Incheon 2014 had just commenced with its extravagant opening ceremony yesterday, it is also the time when the Olympic Council of Asia has to make final decision on which city/country to host the next Asian Games. Back in few years ago, Hanoi, Vietnam had already won the bid to host the games against Surabaya,  Indonesia. However, in early this year, Vietnam confirmed that they had to pull out from hosting the games due to burdening financial problem. Hence, the Olympic Council of Asia had to re-choose, which is a bigger challenge to the new host as there is only 4-years gap before the next games. Usually, the preparation time for the next host is about 7 years after being selected.

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Originally, the 18th Asian Games is scheduled to be held in 2019, a year before the Summer Olympics as the council considered that their 4-year interval that is similar to that of FIFA World Cup. Winter Olympics, Youth Olympics and Commonwealth Games (as we observed this year that has been packed with many global sport events) would be burdening to athletes and that they thought having the Asiad a year before the Summer Olympics would be a perfect timing to see Asiad as a warm-up test before the Olympics. And so, the subsequent Asiad would be in 2019, 2023, 2027, etc, but this decision has not been finalized yet currently as they may wish to switch it back the original slot of 2018, 2022, 2026, etc.

However, Indonesia stressed to push the Asian Games back in 2018 for the 18th edition as the year 2019 is when the country has to concentrate on their presidential election. It is subsequently agreed by the Olympic Council of Asia. Since it was Vietnam and Indonesia that were in final race to bid for the games last time, hence it is very reasonable to pick Indonesia now. However, it would not be Surabaya city to host it as the city has insufficient time by now to build new venues and to prepare for the games. Hence, Jakarta, the capital of the country is selected, a city that has already been equipped with many world-class sporting facilities and had also hosted Asian Games before (back in 1962).

Congratulation to Indonesia to have won the right to host the next Asia’s biggest multi-sport event. Now, I’m wondering that how could they prepare in the closing ceremony of Incheon 2014 (just two weeks away from now) when usually there is a time slot for the next host to present what they can offer for the next games. Let’s see later. Before Indonesia is selected, there are other countries interested like India, Chinese Taipei, Malaysia, and Philippines but with worrying concerns like finances and time limitation, hence they all pulled out. So, in the end, there you go; Jakarta 2018.

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It is quite embarrassing to my country, Malaysia that has never hosted Asian Games. We are more than capable enough to host this Asian Games, seen as only a step away before setting our ambition on hosting the Summer Olympics (world’s biggest sporting event). We had hosted 1998 Commonwealth Games successfully, but thing just stopped there. The government always raised up financial problem as a reason of not bidding to host the games. Ridiculous. Is our country that poor now? You know where all the money goes. Shame, man. Even cities like Manila (Philippines), Bangkok (Thailand) – hosted four times, New Delhi (India) – hosted two times, Tehran (Iran), Doha (Qatar), Jakarta (Indonesia) – two times including 2018’s edition, Busan (South Korea), Guangzhou (China) have hosted Asiad, and not Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia). I’m still being positive of hoping that Malaysia would bid for 2023 Asian Games.

(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)

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