Asian Para Games struggle to attract spectators
Callistasia Anggun Wijaya
The Jakarta Post
Athletes currently competing at the 2018 Asian Para Games may be less famous than some of those taking part in the recent Asian Games, but anyone looking to be filled with fighting spirit may want to seize the opportunity to watch some exceptional Games.
The Indonesian Asian Para Games Organizing Committee (INAPGOC) has emphasized that point in the hope of encouraging people to fill many empty seats at the Games venues.
While badminton, para swimming, athletics and wheelchair basketball can attract hundreds of supporters, other sports, like lawn bowls, fail to attract the crowds.
On Tuesday evening, for instance, fewer than 30 individuals were watching the lawn bowls competition at the hockey court of the Gelora Bung Karno (GBK) sports complex in Senayan.
South Jakarta resident Diana, 50, was one of them. Diana, who was watching the event with her colleague, said she had intentionally chosen to watch the lesser-known sport to support the athletes. Besides, she was curious about the sport, Diana said.
“This is how I appreciate and support the athletes. I believe they really need our support to do well in the competition,” Diana told The Jakarta Post on Tuesday.
Diana added that she hoped the committee could promote the event better to attract more spectators.
INAPGOC marketing director Mirsya Budiarsi said the committee had worked with the Jakarta Education Agency to bring students to the venues to support the athletes.
It had also engaged the city’s social affairs agency to bring communities of people with disabilities to watch the Games, she said.
On Sunday, a total of around 30,000 people watched the competitions at the GBK complex, but Monday saw only around half that figure, according to INAPGOC data.
While the students and communities were currently invited to watch events held at the GBK complex, INAPGOC would also facilitate them to watch competitions at other venues over the next few days, such as boccia at Tanjung Priok Sports Hall in North Jakarta and judo at the JIExpo Grand Ballroom in Kemayoran, Central Jakarta, she said.
Mirsya added that INAPGOC would also intensify promotional efforts by engaging social media influencers.
“We have engaged Parfi 56 [the Indonesian Film Artists Association] to promote the event. Actress Prilly Latuconsina is a member of the association who has a lot of followers on Instagram,” she said.
Further, INAPGOC would invite some celebrities who had participated in torch relays to promote the event, she said.
Mirsya added that INAPGOC had spoken to the Presidential Staff Office and some ministries to promote the event together.
Asian Para Games tickets can be purchased through loket.com and at the Games venues.
The entrance fee for one event is Rp 25,000 (US$1.64), while a ticket to watch all games at the GBK complex costs Rp 100,000.
Youth and Sport Minister Imam Nahrawi encouraged people to flock to the Games venues to support athletes fighting for Indonesia.
“I hope students can watch the Games after school, while people who work can come after office hours,” he said.
Regarding the opening ceremony on Saturday, which had been quite empty, Imam said INAPGOC had sent invitations to some people, but they had failed to turn up.
He said he had instructed INAPGOC to evaluate the incident, so that the closing ceremony could be managed better, with more attendance.
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