Southeast Asian Olympics Possible After IOC Reforms: Indonesia

By Patrick Johnson 17 December 2014

SINGAPORE — Indonesia is optimistic about bringing the Olympics to Southeast Asia in collaboration with one of its neighbors after the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) revamp of the bidding and hosting processes.

Earlier this month, IOC members voted to allow multiple cities and countries to host events at future Games, one of a number of sweeping reforms to the Olympic movement brought by President Thomas Bach.

Changes were also approved to reduce costs for potential bidders, with prospective candidates allowed to discuss plans with the IOC before formally launching a bid after a troublesome 2022 Olympic race led to six runners withdrawing citing finances.

“We strongly support these proposals and are very optimistic about hosting the Olympics in ASEAN in the future,” Indonesia’s Olympic Committee president Rita Subowo told Singapore’s Straits Times newspaper on Tuesday.

“All the potential is there if we can overcome certain limitations.

“The IOC has very high standards and it’s hard to build 20 plus world-class facilities from scratch. Hence, having it spread across two countries makes it more realistic in terms of costs.”

Japan, South Korea and China are the only Asian nations to host the Summer or Winter Olympics, but the Qatari capital of Doha has bid for the last two Summer Games and declared its intention to try again for 2024.

That is the next opportunity for a Southeast Asian bid although whether the IOC would be willing to go back to Asia again after South Korea’s Pyeongchang host the 2018 Winter Games and Tokyo the 2020 Summer Olympics seems unlikely.

Thai IOC member Nat Indrapana saw other issues.

“Co-hosting in principle is a good idea but the practical implementation of this proposal also creates a lot of other problems,” he told the paper.

“With two countries involved, who gets what can become an issue.”

Whether the IOC would trust any of the 11 Southeast Asian nations to work together or individually is an issue.

Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam and Indonesia came together to host the 2007 Asian Cup soccer tournament in Southeast Asia, but then Asian Football Confederation President Mohammed bin Hammam said after it was a mistake to do so.

Vietnam are unlikely to be involved in an Olympic bid after they pulled out of hosting the 2019 Asian Games earlier this year citing costs, with Indonesia stepping in to take over.

Singapore hosted the inaugural Youth Olympics in 2010 and has just opened a $1 billion Sports Hub but would rely on the much larger Indonesia, Thailand or Malaysia to host the bulk of the sports.