Surfing may yet be added to the program for the 2018 Asian Games after organizers confirmed they were trying to “find a solution” to get the sport included at the event in Jakarta and Palembang.
The development follows the fifth meeting of the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) Coordination Committee for the Games, chaired by International Olympic Committee (IOC) member Tsunekazu Takeda.
The OCA has confirmed 41 sports will feature at the event in Indonesia.
Surfing, which will make its Olympic Games debut at Tokyo 2020, had initially been left off the program in September.
Both surfing and skateboarding were set to be excluded before it was agreed the latter sport should be included following a meeting between the Organizing Committee and Jakarta 2018.
The OCA have admitted there are “minor technical issues with the International Surfing Association (ISA) and Organizing Committee” concerning the “venue and logistics” of holding the sport at the event.
It was initially suggested there were no appropriate venues in either Jakarta or Palembang.
An alternative location, like Bali, was ruled too much of a logistical difficulty due to its location almost 600 miles away.
They claim, however, that they have the option of finding a solution to include surfing, raising the possibility of the sport featuring after all.
“We have finalized 41 sports with the option of finding a solution for surfing, which will be in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games,” the OCA said in a statement.
“The OCA wants to prepare the Asian surfers to be ready in terms of experience and to improve their level.
“We are studying minor technical issues with the International Surfing Association and Organizing Committee, especially concerning the venue and logistics involved.”
The OCA Coordination Committee praised the state of Jakarta 2018’s preparations following the visit, with Indonesian Olympic Committee (KOI) President and head of the Organizing Committee Erick Thohir claiming “significant progress” had been made since the last meeting, which took place in May.
Widespread support was also given by the Indonesian Government as Coordinating Minister for Human Development and Culture, Puan Maharani, said organizers were “on track” to deliver a successful event.
This comes despite the reported implication of KOI secretary general Dody Iswandi in a corruption case linked to the Asian Games.
“We are very happy with the progress since the last Coordination Committee meeting, especially the sports venues and also the Athletes’ Village,” said Takeda.
“It is going smoothly and should be completed before the test events.”
Organizers expect most of the venues in Jakarta to be completed by 2017, with the facilities in Palembang already available for use.
The main Athletes’ Village at Kemayoran is due to be finished by June, while the complete reconstruction of the velodrome in Jakarta is expected to be completed in June 2018.
“We have had a very successful meeting and received firm assurances from three leading ministries in the central Government that Indonesia fully supports the 18th Asian Games in 2018,” OCA director general Husain Al Musallam said.
“The Government showed a high level of commitment to secure the success of the Asian Games.
“Three high-level ministries – finance, public works and human development and culture – gave their assurance and, moreover, their support of the citizens of Indonesia and the Parliament, especially since it will be 56 years since Jakarta last hosted our Asian Games in 1962.”
Around 11,000 athletes are expected to compete at the Asian Games.
By Liam Morgan
Republished with permission from insidethegames.biz.