‘Modo and Modi’ mascots

The Indonesian Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (INASOC) officially unveiled the mascots of the 2011 games in Jakarta on Monday.

A pair of Komodo dragons — one male and one female — were chosen as the mascots, in recognition of Indonesia’s conservation efforts to protect the dwindling numbers of the rare lizard.

The two mascots, named “Modo” and “Modi”, were unveiled during a special ceremony to mark 200 days to go until the SEA Games, at Tanah Airku theater in Taman Mini Indonesia Indah, Jakarta.

The mascots were also unveiled simultaneously at Hotel Indonesia traffic circle and in Palembang, where most of the events will be held.

The Komodo dragon, the largest lizard in the world, only lives on the Indonesian islands of Komodo in Flores, East Nusa Tenggara. It is on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

The SEA Games unveiled its logo at an event on Jan. 15 marking 300 days to go until the SEA Games. The logo, a Garuda eagle, was said to symbolize the power and grandeur of Indonesia.

Monday’s unveiling was attended by Youth and Sports Minister Andi Mallarangeng, the chairperson of the Indonesian Sports Council Rita Subowo, and Indonesian athletes.

“It’s time for us to become a good host for our guests and I believe we can,” Andi said as quoted by Antara newswire.

Palembang and Jakarta will co-host the 26th SEA Games from Nov. 11-25.

Athletes from 11 Southeast Asian countries will participate in the biennial games, which this year will feature 43 sports.

Palembang will host the opening and closing ceremonies.

Of the 43 sports, two are new to the SEA Games — Vovinam and Pentaque.

Indonesia will be looking to regain is previous dominance of the competition. Indonesia dominated the Games between 1977, when it first competed, and 1997, failing to top the medal charts only twice in that period — in Bangkok in 1985 and in Chiang May in 1995, losing out to Thailand in both years.

However, Indonesia has not topped the medals chart since winning the Games in 1997 in Jakarta.

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