The 2018 Asian Games have been running for less than a week, but for the home crowd celebrations can never come too early, as evinced by the full support they have given their sporting heroes and heroines who are fighting for the nation’s pride.
Their enthusiasm has been palpable. They have thronged to sports venues to cheer on the nation’s competitors, in both times of glory and agony. The Indonesian public seems aware that in high-level competitions like the Asian Games, the results can hinge on an athlete’s state of mind, regardless of all the training they have done to enhance their skills.
Playing on home soil can give an athlete a much-needed second wind. In many cases, it can help an athlete achieve the unthinkable.
We could debate his possible political motives, but the presence of President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo among the home crowd’s supporters is simply a show of responsibility, which many other heads of state have demonstrated previously, such as at the FIFA World Cup in Russia last month.
The nation’s support appears to have paid off. As of Wednesday afternoon, Indonesia had collected six gold, three silver and five bronze medals. The collection has already exceeded Indonesia’s achievement at the last Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea, four years ago, but there is still a long way to go to achieve the pre-competition target of 16 gold medals, which is needed to finish among the top 10.
The enthusiastic public reception of the long-awaited Games was visible at the packed Gelora Bung Karno Stadium in Senayan, Jakarta, during the extravagant opening ceremony last Saturday, regardless of the complaints about the prices of the tickets, which many said were too expensive for most people.
On the downside, the Games organizers have been overwhelmed in handling the ticketing system, much to the dismay of supporters of the national squad.
Initially, the ticketing was handled online by KiosTix. But later, complaints started to mount over errors on its website, kiostix.com. Ticket buyers also slammed the organizers for the inefficient system, which forced them to redeem their e-tickets for paper tickets before entering sports venues. Ticketing was later taken over by blibli.com, a marketplace owned by the Djarum Group.
But the ticketing problems did not end there. On Wednesday, hundreds of people were disgruntled after finding out that the tickets for the badminton team finals sold at ticket booths near the venue had been sold out in a matter of minutes. To prevent any irregularities, as of Friday the organizers will sell all tickets online and conduct ID checks to make sure only ticket holders attend the events.
Hosting the world’s second biggest multisport event is easier said than done. Indonesia will need to continue to work tirelessly to cater to the thousands of guests until closing day on Sept. 2. Hiccups will almost certain happen.
But, as a show of respect for the hard-working athletes, let’s all make it work. Come on Indonesia, keep fighting for the success of the Games!