Bach positive on Indonesia's 2032 bid

International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach said that he was encouraged that Indonesia's government would maintain enthusiasm among its people even after the Games.
International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach said that he was encouraged that Indonesia's government would maintain enthusiasm among its people even after the Games. PHOTO: AFP

JAKARTA • International Olympic Committee chief Thomas Bach yesterday implored Asian Games host Indonesia, having already built up a head of steam, to maintain its momentum and not fall into a "black hole" if the South-east Asian nation wants to organise the 2032 Olympics.

The German said that while Indonesia had the right ingredients to host the world's biggest multi-sports event after defying expectations and naysayers to hold a mainly smooth Asiad, it had to resist regression to remain a viable candidate.

"With the success of these Asian Games, Indonesia has laid a very solid foundation for such a candidature," Bach said ahead of the closing ceremony, following President Joko Widodo's surprise announcement of a bid for the 2032 Olympics.

"You can see the ingredients are there. You see a young, enthusiastic nation. Passionate about sports, working with high efficiency in the organisation... it will be a very strong candidature.

"So for you now (is) not to fall into a black hole the moment after everybody has left."

The Games, with a bumper 17,000 athletes and officials, were by far the biggest sports event held in Indonesia, and there has been a marked improvement from the 2011 SEA Games that were marred by corruption scandals, delays and two deaths in a stadium stampede.

Bach added that he was encouraged that Indonesia's government would maintain enthusiasm among its people even after the Games, partly by encouraging more people to play sports.

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You see a young, enthusiastic nation. Passionate about sports, working with high efficiency... it will be a very strong candidature... now (is) not to fall into a black hole the moment after everybody has left.

THOMAS BACH, IOC president, on Indonesia's bid to host the 2032 Olympics.

He also touched on the topic of e-sports, which made its debut as a demonstration sport at a Games, saying it had a number of "obstacles to be overcome" before it could be considered for the Olympics.

E-sports' lack of a unified governing body, coupled with the commercial interests of games manufacturers, and the prevalence of violence and adult content in video games were also hurdles in the way.

"Some people still have some doubts whether it's really sport, what is being done there," he said.

"We have to draw a very clear red line saying that no game, which is contrary to the Olympic values, can have a place in the Olympic podium."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 03, 2018, with the headline 'Bach positive on Indonesia's 2032 bid'. Print Edition | Subscribe