Wednesday, December 30, 2009

2011 Host Wants a Games to Remember

As Indonesia prepares to host the Southeast Asian Games for the first time since 1997, it wants to make sure the 26th edition of the regional games is the most memorable yet.

Plans to stamp Indonesia’s mark on the next SEA Games began when the Indonesian Olympic Committee (KOI) proposed changing the starting date.

"We have been trying to propose that the Games start on November 11 in 2011 during our presentations in the [Southeast Asian Games Federation] meeting. I think it would be beautiful to put it this way: 11/11/11," KOI secretary general Arie Ariotedjo told the Jakarta Globe on Sunday.

A decision on the start date is expected at a SEA Games Council meeting in April. The location and exact day of the meeting have yet to be announced.

Arie also denied Indonesia proposed holding the Games in June and July, citing potential difficulties with securing funding.

"We know the government always has its state budget allocated between March and April. It would be impossible for us to hold it in June or July while almost all the facilities and infrastructure in the four host provinces would not be ready yet," he said.

Semarang, Central Java, and Bandung, West Java, are scheduled to serve as main hosts for the 2011 Games, with Jakarta and Palembang, South Sumatra, acting as supporting hosts.

KOI has proposed the next Games contain 37 sports, 22 Olympic and 15 non-Olympic. The four Olympic sports left out are handball, field hockey, modern pentathlon and triathlon.

"We know Southeast Asian countries are not ready yet to play those sports in regional-level competition, from the sports federations to the athletes," said Arie, who is also president of the Indonesian Handball Association.

The 2009 SEA Games in Vientiane, Laos, featured 28 disciplines, down from 43 in 2007.

Non-Olympic sports at the 2011 Games will include chess, fencing and wall climbing, none of which took place in Laos. Kempo, a martial art which originated in Japan, will make its debut.

The goal, Arie said, is to promote those events for eventual inclusion in the Asian Games or Olympics.

“It seems now as if Europe and America dominate the world of sport. It is time for Asia, where half of the world’s population lives, to prove itself in world competitions,” Arie said. JAKARTA GLOBE

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