Asian Games 2018
The 2018 Asian Games is the 18th edition of the Asian Games, with the first games being held in 1951. The tournament will be held from 18th August to 2nd September 2018 and is being hosted in the Indonesian cities of Jakarta and Palembang. This is the first time that the games are being hosted by two cities together.
The opening and closing ceremonies of the games will be held at the Gelora Bung Karno Main Stadium in Jakarta.
The tournament will host around 10,000 athletes from 45 countries, competing in 39 sports. This will be the second time Indonesia is hosting the Asian Games after the Jakarta Asian Games in 1962.
Vietnam were originally selected to be the hosts of the 2018 Asian Games. However, Vietnam withdrew in 2014 due to financial reasons. As a result, Indonesia won the resulting bid and had only four years to prepare for the event.
Asian Games 2018 Mascot
Derawan, a bird-of-paradise character was chosen as the mascot of the 2018 Asian Games back in 2015. However, it was replaced by the trio of Bhin Bhin (bird of paradise), Atung(Bawean Deer) and Ika(one-horned rhinoceros).
The official logo for the 2018 Asian Games is themed 'Energy of Asia' and depicts an aerial view of Gelora Bung Karno Stadium, which was built for when Jakarta hosted the 1962 Asian Games.
In March 2017, the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) had confirmed 42 sports and 484 events will be held at the 2018 Asian Games. However, this number was cut down to 40 sports and 462 events at an executive board meeting in September 2017.
The final selection includes all the sports that will be featured in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, except surfing.
The two sports that were cut down from the initial list were cricket and sambo. The number of events being held at the games is the second highest in the history of the Asian Games behind the 476 games which were held at Guangzhou in 2010.
New Olympic events like 3*3 basketball and BMX freestyle have also been included. The sports making a debut at the 2018 Asian Games are eSports and canoe polo.
Cricket had featured in the last two editions of the Asian Games whereas surfing and sambo were targeting a first-time appearance. But, all the three disciplines have been discarded.
A new complex for athletes was built in Kemayoran, Jakarta to be used as the athletes’ village in the 2018 Asian Games.
The complex consists of 15 tower buildings with 7,426 units. These can accommodate over 20,000 people.
The construction of the village started in 2016 and was developed by the Ministry of Public Works and Housing and the state-owned residential developer Perum Perumnas. The overall cost of the village was $238 million.
The village is suitable for the disabled and will be used for the Asian Paralympic Games as well, which will follow the 2018 Asian Games.
The 2018 Asian Games has been clouded with a number of controversies even before the games started. The games had a preparation time of four years instead of the usual six due to Vietnam’s pull out in 2014. As a result, there was ample doubt whether the stadiums would be ready by the time the games started. There was significant delay in construction works as well due to payment and financial issues.
The biggest headache for the 2018 Asian Games may well be to get the athletes to the stadium on time. Jakarta has one of the world’s worst traffic jams and as a result has one of the highest percentage of air pollution. Athletes and officials will have to travel on designated road lanes. Jakarta has also put on odd-even license plate system to restrict traffic congestion. Schools will also remain closed to factor out the daily commute of thousands of pupils.