Bali to Host First Asian Beach Games

‘Biggest Event in Island’s History’

NUSA DUA ~ The first-ever Asian Beach Games will be held in Bali next year, with up to 10,000 people expected to arrive, in what the organizers say will be the “biggest event in the history of Bali.”

By William J. Furney
Managing Editor
The Bali Times

Indonesia will host the international event from October 18-26, 2008, with 45 countries taking part – from Southeast Asia, South Asia and the Middle East – the organizers said during a visit to The Bali Times on Monday.

The competition is sanctioned by the Kuwait-based Olympic Council of Asia, a division of the International Olympic Committee in Switzerland, the same body that organized the 15th Asian Games in Doha last year.

Funds to stage the event in Bali were expected to reach around US$45 million, of which it was hoped the central government would provide $30 million, Sony Subrata, president director of the Jakarta-based CDA Group that is helping organize logistics for the Asian Beach Games, told The Times.

The remainder would come from the private sector, he said.

Unusually, there was no bid process in the organizers’ decision to stage the prestigious event in Bali, said Subrata.

“They decided that after all that Bali has been through in recent years, the event must be staged here. We want to show the world that Bali is a good, secure place,” he said.

Bids had already been made to hold subsequent Asian Beach Games, among others by the Philippines and Jordan, Subrata said.

To televise proceedings – to take place in Kuta, Sanur, Serangan island, Benoa Harbor and Jimbaran – talks were underway with foreign television-service firms and a live feed would be available for countries to take up.

Broadcasting the Games would cost an estimated $2 million, said Subrata, adding that the official launch of the event would be held in Bali on June 19.

Subrata said “a lot of time has been wasted” in organizing the event, due to a changeover in leadership of the National Sports Council (KONI), but that officials were convinced sufficient time remained for plans to come to fruition.

“The people we’ve met in Bali are confident that we can do this” within the timeframe we have,” he said.

A team of foreign consultants that worked on the Doha Games had twice been to Bali and was in the process of setting up an office here to oversee operations, added Subrata.

In addition, around 4,000 Balinese would be recruited as volunteers to help run the event, he said, adding that his firm was in talks with senior officials here to find the right people, some of whom would be paid for their work.

Athletes, meanwhile, would stay in “clusters,” he said, meaning those whose sports were talking place in Kuta, for example, would stay at hotels in that area.

Security for the event would be handled by a special unit of the organizing committee that would coordinate with relevant officials.

The official disciplines in the Bali Games are: Beach Handball, Beach Soccer, Beach Takraw, Beach Volleyball, Body Building, Dragon Boat, Jetski Sport, Marathon Swimming, Paragliding, Sailing, Surfing, Triathlon and Woodball.

This competition was “the first in the world. And I believe the biggest (event) in the history of Bali. Over 10,000 athletes, officials and media from around the world will cover this event. The finals will be broadcast in most of the 45 participating Asian countries,” said Subrata.

[Editorial, P6: Bali Rising]

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