Countdown Begins to Asian Beach Games

asian beach gamesBy William J. Furney
Managing Editor
The Bali Times

DENPASAR ~ The countdown began this week to the first Olympic-sanctioned Asian Beach Games, to be held in Bali from October 18-26 next year.

At a glittering event in Denpasar on Tuesday night, officials from the organizing committee, and politicians, gathered to start a countdown clock that is now ticking away the seconds until the major sporting event gets underway.

Construction of the clock cost Rp800 million (US$87,521), officials told The Bali Times. It is situated at Lumintang Field in the island’s capital, where an official welcoming ceremony will he held next year ahead of the Games.

The clock – devised by a group of Balinese artists – was designed to represent the beach, temples and the spirit of the Asian Beach Games, which is “Inspire the World.”

“Everything that is incorporated into this clock is not only about Bali, but also about Indonesia,” Sony Subrata, marketing and public relations chief of the organizing committee, said.

Head of Indonesian Sport Committee Bali chapter Alit Putra said Lumintang field was chosen as the site for the countdown clock because there was no space available at beaches.

“We surveyed several places and decided that the best place to have the countdown clock would be at Lumintang Field. Ideally we would have liked it to be on a beach, but that couldn’t be done because there was no vacant land at the places we looked at,” he said.

Olympic officials previously told The Times that Bali was chosen for the first Asian Beach Games because it was the perfect location for the mega-event and the Olympic movement wanted to also signal their support for the tropical island after it encountered difficulties in recent years.

The Games’ mascot is the Bali Starling, a severely endangered species.

Olympic technical experts who worked on the Doha Asian Games last year are currently in Bali advising on logistics, officials said.

Events ranging from beach soccer to volleyball and surfing are to be staged at “clusters” around southern Bali, from Kuta to Sanur.

A massive influx of people is expected in Bali for the Games, in the region of 10,000 people, ranging from athletes from 45 countries to media personnel and officials, as well as spectators, the organizers say.

Indonesia is readying 190 athletes to take part in the 13 sports disciplines.

Deputy Director General of the organizing committee Djoko Pramono said the selection process would be completed by next January.

“We’re looking forward immensely to this event, and we hope we can do the best we can, as this is the first event of its kind,” he said.

Meanwhile, the organizers are taking their promotion of the Asian Beach Games on the road, and next month will be attending the Asian Indoor Games in Macau, to give officials a taste of what to expect in Bali.

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