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Indonesia's Asian Games preparations on track: OCA

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Indonesia's preparations for the 2018 Asian Games were on track, the Olympic Council of Asia insisted Wednesday, as a minister downplayed concerns venues would not be ready on time.

[DENPASAR, Indonesia] Indonesia's preparations for the 2018 Asian Games were on track, the Olympic Council of Asia insisted Wednesday, as a minister downplayed concerns venues would not be ready on time.

Jakarta was awarded the games in September 2014 after the original host Vietnam withdrew due to economic problems, but the late decision meant it had four years instead of the usual six to prepare.

Concerns had been mounting about whether Indonesia, which has a chequered history when it comes to hosting big, multi-sport events, would be ready on time.

Construction of an athletes' village was delayed over a land ownership dispute, although officials say that has now been resolved, and renovation of a major Jakarta stadium hosting 14 venues also appeared to be progressing slowly.

But at the end of a two-day meeting in Indonesia, the OCA said they were happy.

"We are very satisfied with the preparation for the games," said Jizhong Wei, an OCA vice-president, after a meeting with Indonesian officials on the resort island of Bali.

On Tuesday Basuki Hadimuljono, Indonesia's minister of public works and housing, reassured the OCA that all construction and renovation work would be completed in time.

"I want to convince you that our preparations are on the right track," he said at an OCA athletes' committee meeting in Jakarta, according to an OCA statement.

"Please believe us that we are going to stick to our schedule."

The athletes' village should be ready by November next year, while the renovation of the stadium should be completed by July 2017, according to the official plan.

Indonesia staged the 2011 Southeast Asian Games but ran into problems, with some venues not ready on time and the death of two people in a stampede at the football final.

Indonesia last staged the Asian Games in 1962 in Jakarta. The 2018 edition of the games will run from August 18 to September 2 and will be co-hosted by Jakarta and Palembang, on Sumatra island.

AFP