Indonesia vows to speed up Asian Games preparations

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Indonesia promised Wednesday to speed up preparations for the 2018 Asian Games after the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) expressed concern about slow progress.

Jakarta was awarded the games in September last year after the original host Vietnam withdrew due to economic problems, but the late decision meant it had four years instead of the usual six to prepare.

OCA officials visited Jakarta this week to get a progress report from their Indonesian counterparts and raised concerns about a series of issues.

These included the renovation of a Jakarta stadium which has not yet begun, and the failure to start construction of an athletes’ village due to a land ownership dispute, said sports ministry spokesman Gatot Dewa Broto.

“We only have around two years… we have to speed up,” he told AFP, adding that a country should ideally have eight years to prepare.

But he insisted everything would be ready on time: “We are highly optimistic that all disputes will be resolved and targets will be achieved.”

Indonesia staged the 2011 Southeast Asian Games but ran into problems, with some venues not ready on time and the death of two people in a stampede at the football final.

Jakarta will host most events at the 2018 games, with a handful of others set to take place in smaller cities.

Indonesia last staged the Asian Games in 1962 in Jakarta.

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