As many as 38 countries have confirmed their participation in the Islamic Solidarity Games (ISG) in Palembang next month.
“We formerly had 25 confirmed, but the number has increased to 38,” Youth Affairs and Sports Minister Roy Suryo said in Jakarta on Wednesday.
The upcoming five-yearly sporting event among the members of Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) will run from Sept. 22 to Oct. 1.
The choice of Palembang was decided only this month following a period of central government dithering after the failure of Pekanbaru, in Riau province, to meet the preparation deadlines.
Pekanbaru had been scheduled to host the event in June. While the local government insisted on keeping the games there, corruption cases implicating Riau Governor Rusli Zainal finally snuffed
Jakarta had been considered before Palembang, which was the venue for the 2011 National Games (PON) and Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, was settled upon.
Roy said that the number of participants was released based on reports from the Islamic Solidarity Games Federation (ISSF), which is responsible for the direction and control of the ISG. “This shows good progress,” he said.
The games will feature competitions in athletics, aquatics, archery, badminton, basketball, soccer, karate, taekwondo, tennis, volleyball, beach volleyball, weightlifting and wushu.
With time pressing, Roy said, the proceedings were most likely to bypass the tender process including those providing logistics for the games.
“The technical delegate is in Palembang at the moment to monitor the preparations,” he said.
Meanwhile, Sadiq Abdulrahman Askar, the acting secretary general of the Bahrain Olympic Committee (BOC), expressed his keenness for sports gatherings that promoted Islamic unity and solidarity and
developed Islamic national teams.
On the BOC website, he wished Indonesia success in organizing the 2013 Games.
The first staging of the games was held in Saudi Arabia in 2005. Iran was to have been the next host in 2010, but the event was cancelled because of controversies over the games logo.