How Indonesia is gearing up for the 2018 Asian Games
Share this on

How Indonesia is gearing up for the 2018 Asian Games

NEXT month, 16,000 athletes and officials to take over two Indonesian cities – Jakarta and Palembang.

The 2018 Asian Games, otherwise known as the 18th Asian Games or Jakarta Palembang 2018, is scheduled to be held from Aug 18 to Sept 2, 2018, in the capital Jakarta and Palembang in South Sumatra.

This is the first time the Asian Games are being co-hosted by two cities. The pan-Asian multi-sport event will have 40 categories, including eSports (gaming) – 14 of them will be contested in Palembang while the rest will be in Jakarta.

SEE ALSO: Indonesia’s Jokowi has invited Moon Jae-in, Kim Jong Un to Asian Games

Gelora Bung Karno Main Stadium in Jakarta will host the opening and closing ceremonies of the games. The total cost for the 2018 Asian Games is estimated at US$3.2 billion, with US$2.4 billion being spent on infrastructure development surrounding the games.


Cyclists ride past banners promoting the upcoming Asian Games, to be held in Jakarta and Palembang, during the weekly car free day in Jakarta, Indonesia, July 15, 2018. Source: Reuters/Darren Whiteside


As part of the preparation, the construction of the Jakarta LRT, one of the key modes of transportation that will be used during the games, was accelerated. It will not be ready for the games, however.

Notorious for its traffic jams, city authorities have built underpasses, flyovers, and bridges have been built in Jakarta, and city bus operator TransJakarta will add 416 buses to serve officials during the games.

The Palembang light rail transit (LRT) will allow for ease of travel between Sultan Mahmud Badaruddin II International Airport, which recently expanded its arrival and departure terminals, and the Jakabaring Stadium Complex.

Athletes’ village

Indonesia’s Public Works and Public Housing Ministry built a brand new athletes’ village at Kemayoran, a subdistrict of Central Jakarta.

The village sits in a land area of 100,000 square meters and hosts 7,424 apartments in 10 towers. It can accommodate a total of 22,272 athletes.

“After the Asian Games, the government will convert the buildings into low-cost rental apartments, aiming to accommodate people evicted from riverbanks and slum areas as well as civil servants and others with limited income,” The Jakarta Post reported.

Meanwhile, the athletes’ village inside the Jakabaring Sport City in Palembang will house 3,000 athletes and officials.


Initially built in 1960 for the 1962 Asian Games, the Gelora Bung Karno Sports Complex in Jakarta underwent a major renovation for the 2018 Asian Games.

Its capacity has been reduced from 88,000 spectators to 76,217, and a facial recognition system has also been installed in anticipation of terror threats.

The original Jakarta International Velodrome at Rawamangun was also demolished to make way for a new velodrome that will be used for cycling, badminton, futsal, basketball, and wrestling during the games. The construction cost US$40 million.

Jakabaring Sport City complex at Palembang, which had its seating capacity decreased to 27,000, will be used to the other sports events. A 40-lane bowling alley and eight additional tennis courts were added to the integrated sports facility.


Banner of Asian Games 2018 is seen on Mandiri bank building in Jakarta, Indonesia July 17, 2018. Source: Reuters/Beawiharta

Air quality

Following a spell of unhealthy air in Jakarta and forest fire hotspots near Palembang, the Indonesian government is now ramping up efforts to clear it up before the games.

“Strategies being considered include wider curbs on private cars depending on whether their license-plate numbers are odd or even, creating special lanes for the sports event, and building gardens,” Channel News Asia wrote.

Authorities are looking into the possibility of cloud seeding to combat the hotspots as well.

Cloud seeding is a form of weather modification that changes the amount or type of precipitation that falls from clouds, by shooting flares of salt into suitable clouds.

SEE ALSO: Indonesia given one of the highest law and order ratings in the world

Crime crackdown

As part of a two-month campaign to boost security for the 2018 Asian Games, Indonesia police have gone on a crime crackdown.

Indonesia recently suffered a series of suicide bombings in Surabaya, the country’s second-largest city. The incident killed 26 people, including 13 attackers. To date, the police have killed 11 suspected petty criminals and shot dozens more.

Jakarta Police Spokesman Prabowo Argo Yuwono revealed nearly 2,000 people had been arrested since the operation began July 2, 2018. He claimed 52 were shot for resisting arrest and 11 of them died.

A version of this article was originally published on our sister site Travel Wire Asia.