Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung announced in April that the country would withdraw from hosting the 2019 Asian Games, citing a lack of preparedness and concerns that the event would not be financially viable.
The Vietnamese capital of Hanoi was awarded the Games in November 2012 ahead of the Indonesian city of Surabaya. However, following a crisis meeting with officials, Dung confirmed that Vietnam would relinquish its hosting rights in order not to damage its reputation.
Vietnam’s decision has since opened up a bidding race for the Asian Games, with the 2014 edition due to commence in Incheon, Korea on Friday. Sheikh Ahmad said that the appointment of the Indonesian capital of Jakarta as the new host will be formally ratified at an OCA General Assembly meeting in Korea on Saturday.
“In less than one month, Indonesia was there ready to host it,” he told the Reuters news agency. “We have solved the issues with other cities and we have a good agreement (so) let’s leave it to Indonesia because it was the competitor to Vietnam at the last vote. So Indonesia has to have the priority to host.”
However, the 18th Asian Games will be brought forward a year to 2018 because the Indonesian presidential election will take place in 2019. The date change still has to be approved by the general assembly, but Sheikh Ahmad said he expected the following edition would be held in 2023 then every four years to avoid clashing with the winter Olympics and football’s Fifa World Cup.
“It was decided the Asian Games would move from 2014 and 2018, to 2014 and 2019 because it would be good preparation for the Olympics,” he said. “But because Indonesia will have a presidential election in 2019 the requirement was to host it in 2018, which we don’t mind... but we have to give it to the general assembly to approve.”
Jakarta previously staged the Asian Games in 1962, and Indonesia held the Southeast Asian Games in 2011. The Chinese city of Guangzhou (pictured) hosted the most recent edition of the Asian Games in 2010.
Last month, the OCA’s vice-president Wei Jizhong endorsed Indonesia’s readiness to host the Asian Games.
To find out more about bidding for major events, register for HOST CITY Bid to Win at www.bidtowin-hostcity.net.