Inspiring the World

By Rita Subowo

For The Bali Times

JAKARTA ~ When news of Bali being appointed host of the First Asian Beach Games in the world started circulating, there were doubts cast as to whether Indonesia would be ready (or even capable) to host the Olympic Council of Asia’s (OCA) newest sports property.

These uncertainties were silenced following the unveiling of the Countdown Clock for the Games in a spectacular performance in Limitung, Denpasar, where the clock stands as a monument.

The Countdown Clock is counting down the days, hours and minutes to Games time, which is October 18th–26th 2008. With less than a year to go, the Bali Asian Beach Games Organising Committee (BABGOC) is committed to ensuring that the multi-sport beach event is world-class and exceeds expectations.

The Asian Beach Games will see 45 countries and regions participating in 14 sports disciplines. Not only will the Games empower sports and “Inspire the World” (the tag line of the event); it will also have huge economic impacts on the island. Balinese people will be recruited to assist in all aspects of the games, giving them a chance to learn the ropes and enjoy the experience of being involved in the largest multi-sport beach event in the world.

Like any world-class sporting project, there have been obstacles along the way, but these have been overcome, and with strong central and local government support, the First Asian Beach Games Bali 2008 promises to be a historic event in sporting history.

With all this said, the question remains as to how much corporate support the Games will get in the form of sponsorship. The marketing department of BABGOC has been aggressively approaching several big players in sports sponsorship and the interest levels have been encouraging.

There will soon be an announcement of the Bali Asian Beach Games 2008 first sponsor and this is expected to create a domino effect for more partners to come on board. Local and international companies are being approached and it seems that many of them can see the benefit of being associated to such a prestigious event.

BABGOC is also planning road trips throughout the region to promote the Games and round up further support. With the Asian Indoor Games Macau 2007 upon us, representatives of BABGOC attended this sister property of the Asian Beach Games to gather as much information as possible to assist them in ensuring that the Games here in Bali adhere to the high standards and guidelines of the OCA.

Indonesian athletes are already training to try and gather as many gold medals as possible. Response for attendance from other nations has also been encouraging. With over 5,000 athletes and officials expected, the Games promises the best in sports and will be broadcast to the world with world-class footage produced by some of the best in the industry.

It is hoped that through the successful staging of the First Asian Beach Games Bali 2008, the development of Indonesian sports will be slingshot into full gear and see more international events being staged in the country.

Oman is the next host venue for the Games, in 2010, and it is therefore important for BABGOC to set a milestone for the event, one that other nations can follow and adhere to.

While BABGOC is organizing the event itself, it is under the watchful eye of the OCA, which has over the past few decades managed to establish several great sporting properties throughout the region, including the Asian Games (2006 in Doha and 2010 in Guangzhou, China) the Asian Winter Games, the Asian Indoor Games and now the Asian Beach Games.

The purpose of having all these different types of Games in the region is to try and accommodate as many sports as possible so that all athletes of Asian life have the chance to compete in the sports they love.

Following the unveiling of the Countdown Clock, an extensive marketing and PR campaign will be embarked upon in the lead-up to the Games. It is expected that Bali will already start feeling the impacts of the Games from this point onwards, with this increasing the closer we get to Games time.

Out of the 14 sports disciplines being competed in, three will be broadcast live – Beach Volleyball, Beach Sepak Takraw and Beach Soccer. All other sports, as well as the opening and closing ceremonies, will be included in a 54-minute daily highlight show which will be distributed to stations across the region. This footage will be the face of the Games and will commit to be the best there is in quality, promoting Bali and the Games to the world.

BABGOC will ensure that all aspects of the Games are delivered to the expectations of all. It is not an easy job to do, but all involved are proud to be a part of this historic sporting occasion for the country. If the Countdown Clock celebration is anything to go by, BABGOC is certainly on the right track, with the celebration leaving all guests hyped for the event next year.

The Bali Asian Beach Games 2008 will give Indonesia a chance to share its diverse culture and heritage with the world. “Inspire the World” is exactly what the Games expects to do. Despite the troubles that Bali has had to endure over the past few years, the people and the country have overcome them and this dedication and commitment will be seen through the Games.

Bali is already “Inspiring the World,” as host of the First Asian Beach Games 2008 – and what a huge honor it is.

The writer is director general of the 1st Asian Beach Games Organizing Committee, chairwoman of the National Sports Council and was recently elected a member of the International Olympic Committee.

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