Jakarta. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on Friday announced that Jakarta would co-host the 2011 Southeast Asian Games.
The capital, however, will only serve as a satellite venue, as Palembang will be the main hub for the regional games.
Yudhoyono made the announcement in front of athletes under the Golden Indonesia Program (Prima) during a visit at their camp at the Indonesian Special Force Training Center, Batujajar, Bandung, West Java.
He also urged the SEA Games organizing committee (Inasoc) to “carefully select the right sports events for the Games, and choose the ones wherein the country has a medal potential after these choices are discussed with other participating countries.”
Jakarta was the sole hub of the SEA Games when the country hosted the tournament in 1979, 1987 and 1997, topping the medal standings in all three editions.
The 194 gold medals Indonesia won in the 1997 Games remain the record, but the country has failed to breach the 100-gold mark in six editions since.
Andi Malarangeng, the state minister of youth and sports, said Jakarta has enough time to prepare venues for the SEA Games.
“The city will be more than ready to hold events with its existing facilities,” he said.
Jakarta Governor Fauzi Bowo said the city government was “prepared” to host the SEA Games, although installing an efficient transportation system will pose the biggest challenge.
“Facilitating the participants with easy access to the venues, which will be spread around the city, will be the hardest,” Fauzi said.
“But I’m sure we can accomplish this if we start working with key institutions.”
Fauzi said he has also coordinated with several officials to discuss ways to prevent flooding in the city, a potential problem the city government cannot ignore because the SEA Games will be held in November, the start of the rainy season in the country.
The Jakarta governor added that he would discuss with the West Java provincial government the possibility of holding several events in the city outskirts, such as the BMX event in Cikole, Bandung; paragliding in Puncak, Bogor; and the rowing events at Jatiluhur Water Reservoir.
“It’s not a big problem to hold some sports outside Jakarta, as long as we can keep the venues accessible,” Fauzi said.
Last month, Yudhoyono announced that Palembang, the capital of South Sumatra, would be the main hub for the SEA Games. At the time, Bandung and Semarang were also in the running to cohost the tournament, along with Jakarta.
“I have decided that we should choose the province that is not only ready but has the spirit to be host,” Yudhoyono said.
“I believe that South Sumatra’s governor has the right spirit and will be a good host. That is [South Sumatra’s] advantage, and let us help and support it to carry out the SEA Games,” the president added.
The country was appointed by the SEA Games Council last year to take over as host of the 26th Games from Singapore, which pulled out after it said it would not be ready.