Venues for Jakarta Asian Games Almost Complete

The renovated Gelora Bung Karno stadium will host the opening and closing ceremonies.
The renovated Gelora Bung Karno stadium will host the opening and closing ceremonies.

With a month to go, the venues for the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta are through 95% of their procedure and executives have promised they will be completed by the opening date.

Asian Games venues will be ready before Indonesia hosts the showpiece event in a month, organizers say, but the threat of terror attacks and endless traffic jams still looms over the tournament, AFP reported.

An army of laborers has been toiling around the clock to finish building work, widen roads and plant trees in a breakneck bid to beautify Jakarta, a teeming metropolis that many visitors find tough to love.

Jakarta and Palembang in Sumatra are set to host about 11,000 athletes and 5,000 officials from 45 Asian countries for the August 18-September 2 Games, the world’s biggest multi-sport event behind the Olympics.

Apart from a still-unfinished squash complex, most venues appear nearly done.

 Main Stadium Renovated  

The Gelora Bung Karno main stadium, used when Indonesia last hosted the games in 1962, has undergone a major renovation for $2 billion.

“I think all the venues, from what I see... 95% should be finished by end of July,” chief organizer Erick Thohir, a media tycoon who is chairman of football club Inter Milan, said last week.

Indonesia started with less time than most host countries. It agreed to host the games when Vietnam pulled out, citing concerns over preparations and the heavy financial burden.

Jakarta then moved the 40-sport games forward by a year to 2018 to avoid a clash with national elections.

But the biggest headache at the Asian Games may be getting athletes to venues on time. Jakarta has some of the world’s worst traffic and choking air pollution that has forced organizers to come up with drastic solutions.

Athletes and officials will travel on dedicated road lanes while Jakarta has put an odd-even license plate system in place to limit congestion.

Schools will also be closed to take the daily commute of millions of pupils out of the equation.

  Security Concerns

Security is another concern with the games coming just a few months after terror attacks in Indonesia’s second-biggest city Surabaya killed a dozen people and reignited concerns about Islamist militants.

Some 100,000 security staff will be deployed in Jakarta, Palembang and West Java, where several events are taking place.

Police say they have been rounding up terror suspects and petty street criminals in a pre-games crackdown - and even fatally shooting some who resisted arrest.

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