Jakarta. Indonesia will bid for the 2032 Olympics, following its successful hosting of the 2018 Asian Games and rising confidence in the world's fourth most populous nation in organizing international multisport events.
President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo made the announcement after a meeting with International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach and Olympic Council of Asia president Sheikh Ahmed Al-Fahad Al-Sabah at the Presidential Palace in Bogor, West Java, on Saturday (01/09).
"With the experience we have in hosting the 2018 Asian Games, we are confident Indonesia can also host a bigger event ... Indonesia plans to propose itself as a host candidate for the 2032 Olympics," Jokowi said in a statement.
The IOC president responded positively to the plan, praising Indonesia's success in hosting this year's Asian Games and saying that it would provide a significant boost for its Olympic bid.
"The International Olympic Committee really appreciates the candidacy of Indonesia for the 2032 Olympics, because with this Asian Games, with this great success, Indonesia has demonstrated that it has all the ingredients to organize the Olympic Games in a very successful way," Bach said.
"The most touching and maybe impressive, in this organization, at least for me, is the people of Indonesia. You can see a great combination of friendliness and efficiency at the same time," he said.
The country only had two years and four months to prepare for the 18th Asian Games after Vietnam pulled out, Indonesia Asian Games Organizing Committee (Inasgoc) president Erick Thohir said.
However, Indonesia managed to revamp and complete many world-class sport venues on time for the event. The opening ceremony on Aug. 18 was considered spectacular, with many observers saying that it has raised the bar for hosting multisport events in the future.
Still, for an event as big as the Asian Games, Indonesia experienced some minor hiccups. Thousands of enthusiasts were left without tickets despite plenty of empty seats inside venues. The organizers also struggled with a defective ticketing system during the start of the event, although it later managed to solve the problem.
"The tickets were sold out; dolls [the Asian Games mascot] were out of stock. These are good problems," Erick said, adding that it means there was strong public interest in the Asian Games.
Erick said issues such as empty seats in stadiums were inevitable due to the different ticketing rules applied in each sport.
A steep decline in the value of rupiah during the Asian Games also caused headaches for the committee as delayed the payment of referees.
Erick told the Jakarta Globe separately that the currency depreciation caused the figure to exceed the initial budget, and that the committee needed the Finance Ministry's approval to secure additional funds.
On behalf of the organizers, he also apologized to all visitors for any inconvenience related to traffic congestion, especially in the capital.
Despite some minor problems, many expressed their satisfaction with Indonesia's handling of the massive task of hosting this year's event.
The opening ceremony was described as the best performance ever for the Asian Games. About 13,000 volunteers participated for the prestigious multisport event.
"The 2018 Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games was better than expected," said Wei Jizhong, honorary life vice president of the Olympic Council of Asia.