INDONESIA is seeking to increase promotion of Asian Games 2018 scheduled in Jakarta and Palembang, South Sumatra, from August 18 to September 2.
According to President Joko Widodo said promotion of the Asian biggest sporting event still had yet to be intensified as he saw Asian Games fever had not yet set in while the event draws closer.
“The fever should have set in among members of the community by now but "it is now still only warm, not hot; let alone a fever,” he said.
President Jokowi, as he is popularly called, had invited artists, musicians, athletes to the State Palace to ask them to seek their involvement in the promotion efforts for the event.
He underlined the importance of the event for the country saying that "a total of 49 countries will participate in the Asian Games which will soon begin. This is a big event."
With regards to the promotion efforts President Jokowi during a visit to the district of Karawang, West Java, recently took an opportunity to promote the Games by distributing T-shirts written "Let’s Make Asian Games 2018 a Success" to people after meeting with local Islamic clerics and figures at the Asshiddiqiyah III Islamic boarding school in Cilamaya Wetan.
He distributed black T-shirts to the people greeting him on the side of the road where he passed by.
Meanwhile Sports minister Imam Nahrowi has called for continued promotion of Asian Games during the World Cup football championship from June 14 to July 15.
He said the Indonesia Asian Games Organizing Committee (Inasgoc) could use the World Cup momentum for promoting Asian Games as well such as offering a ball as a reward for the winner of an Asian Games quiz held on the occasion of a watching World Cup together.
The minister said he had also asked bloggers to write or create video clips about Asian Games.
"Putting up Asian Games logo is not enough," he said.
Preparations for the event still continued. Sports Minister Imam Nahrawi said all venues and infrastructure for the 18th Asian Games in Jakarta and Palembang would be ready by the end of June.
"The development progress has reached 96 percent, and Insya Allah (God willing) it could be completed (in June) for both venue and its infrastructure," Imam has said.
The development progress, he said, has run on the track and all participants and athletes have prepared for the Asian biggest sporting event.
On Indonesian athletes’ readiness to compete in the event, Imam said, they have passed trainings and trials. The minister claimed that all sport events are considered as leading events. "Indonesia is the host, and all capability must be mustered up for the Asian Games. We are optimistic on this."
The minister has expressed hope for Indonesian contingent to improve their performance. During the 17th Asian Games in South Korea in 2014, Indonesia was ranked 17th in the medal table. As host of the 4th Asian Games in 1962 Indonesia finished as the runner-up after Japan.
For this year it has set a target of collecting 20 gold medals or ranking 10th. Minister Imam Nahrowi expects gold medals from 14 sport branches.
"We are optimistic with regard to all sports branches, but we have 14 branches that we are realistic about winning gold medals," he said.
"Indonesia is also predicted to win medals, no matter whether silver or bronze, in certain sports events. There are also sports branches which are only expected to raise the country`s rating," he noted.
Some of the country`s athletes have undergone training both at home and abroad. "Of the 40 sports branches, 33 have been attended by the athletes in trial games with different results. Some are encouraging, and some others still need another trial. We still have two months time, and they will undergo another trial in early August," the minister remarked.
Nahrawi expressed optimism that through the training at the National Training Center and trial overseas, the athletes could enable Indonesia to enter the Top Ten.
With regard to security the police have said that maximum efforts would be taken to assure security of the event. National Police deputy chief Commissioner General Syafruddin who is also chief of the Indonesian contingent to the 18th Asian Games said 60,000 security personnel would be deployed to secure the event.
All participants will be given maximal security starting from their arrival to their departures, he said.
Water bombing helicopters and fire trucks have also been ready in Palembang to fight forest fires in case they happen as the event will happen at the peak of the dry season.
The government has been set to achieve three successes which are success in the preparations, implementation and achievement. [antaranews/photo special]