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Asian Games set to be brought forward as Jakarta waits to be crowned host

Jakarta in Indonesia is set to be named as the host of the next edition of the Asian Games in 2018 after Hanoi in Vietnam withdrew from the race to host the multi-sport event due to financial concerns.

Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, the president of the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA), told the Reuters news agency that the decision to award the Games to Jakarta will be ratified at the body’s general assembly in South Korea on Saturday. The OCA general assembly will also need to approve a change in date for the next edition of the Games, with the event set to take place one year earlier than originally planned.

The event was originally scheduled to take place in 2019, but is likely to be brought forward due to the Indonesian presidential election taking place in 2019. The following edition is still set to take place in 2023 and every four years thereafter to avoid clashing with the winter Olympic Games and football’s Fifa World Cup.

“In less than one month, Indonesia was there ready to host it,” Sheikh Ahmad (pictured) said. “We have solved the issues with other cities. We have a good agreement, so let’s leave it to Indonesia because it was the competitor to Vietnam at the last vote. So Indonesia has to have the priority to host [the event].”

The OCA president added: “It was decided the Asian Games would move from 2014 and 2018 to 2014 and 2019 because it would be good preparation for the Olympics. But because Indonesia will have a presidential election in 2019, the requirement was to host it in 2018, which we don’t mind… but we have to give it to the general assembly to approve.”

Jakarta was already the favourite to host the event after India opted against stepping in to replace Hanoi due to political uncertainty following elections in the country. Hanoi was awarded the Games in November 2012 ahead of the Indonesian city of Surabaya, but Vietnam pulled out earlier this year after estimating that hosting the event could cost between $150m (€114m) and $500m. “What we faced with Hanoi, it was a new experience… and we have to prepare our mechanisms so that we don’t have this problem back,” Sheikh Ahmad added.

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