Asian Games torch arrives in Lombok, promotes Mandalika economic zone
The Jakarta Post
The 2018 Asian Games torch relay team arrived in Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara on Wednesday morning from Bali.
The relay team was led by First Marshall Eko Dono Indarto and welcomed by officials from the provincial administration, the provincial police chief and military personnel at Lombok International Airport in Central Lombok regency.
The team then escorted the torch 10 kilometers to the Mandalika special economic zone, an area designated by the government to spur economic growth and development within the region.
At Mandalika beach, around 2,000 people gathered to see the torch, including students, tourists and the general public. The relay team was greeted by Sasak dance performances and Peresean fighting, a mock battle between two men wielding rattan swords and shields.
“We thank the Asian Games committee for making Lombok part of the torch's route,” said Central Lombok regency secretary Nursiah.
He expressed hope that the torch relay will encourage local youth to strive for prestige in sports.
“Especially after West Nusa Tenggara came under the national spotlight when homegrown athlete Lalu Muhammad Zohri won first place at the U-20 [100 meter dash] in Finland,” he added.
The local administration laid out a route for the torch around the Mandalika area so as to promote it as a national tourist destination.
Ngurah Wirawan, executive director of the Indonesia Tourism Development Corporation that manages Mandalika, added that the area was also set to be an international sporting destination.
“We’ve already had several surfing and paragliding events here. This month we’ll have the Indonesian Military [TNI] marathon and we are also constructing a MotoGP [racing] circuit,” he said.
He expects Mandalika to be a global tourist destination within the next five to 10 years, and to help hype up the torch relay, his organization arranged a beach clean-up and a public aerobics class.
After passing Mandalika, the torch will be escorted to Ampenan beach, then to the governor's hall in the province's capital, Mataram. (nor/dmr)
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