Indonesia's traditional martial art, pencak silat, will make its debut as one of the sports in Asian Games when Indonesia hosts the 18th edition of quadrennial multi-sport showcase in 2018.
Pencak silat, which has proven to be a gold mine for Indonesia at the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, is among six non-Olympic sports included on the list along with 28 Olympic sports at the games, which will run from Aug. 18 to Sept. 2, 2018, in Jakarta and Palembang, South Sumatra.
'We have decided today to feature 28 Olympic sports and six non-Olympic sports as official sports. We will continue discussions and will decide the official sports programs as soon as possible,' Olympic Council of Asia (OCA)'s chief Tzunekazu Takeda told a media conference in Jakarta on Tuesday.
He briefed the press after a meeting with the Indonesian Olympic Committee (KOI).
'We are very happy that the government of Indonesia, along with administrators in Jakarta and Palembang, has given their strong support for the event,' Takeda said.
Indonesia is looking to include more sports that will give it better prospects for getting gold medals before the list is officially confirmed in the next meeting expected in September.
'We have proposed four additional events that we think will help Indonesia get more gold medals, namely wall climbing, paragliding, bowling and roller sport,' KOI chairwoman Rita Subowo said.
Indonesia took home four gold, five silver and 11 bronze medals to finish 17th among 45 participating countries at the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea. The inclusion of pencak silat is expected to improve the gold collection.
At the 2013 games in Myanmar, Indonesia won four gold medals from a possible 12.
A day before the meeting, OCA officials inspected some venues in Jakarta including, Jakarta International Exhibition (JIE) Expo Kemayoran and Gelora Bung Karno (GBK) stadium in Central Jakarta and International Conference Exhibition (ICE) BSD in Serpong.
'We will build an athlete village that can accommodate 15,000 athletes as well as a media center in Kemayoran,' Rita said, adding that they will also use the Jakarta Convention Center, Senayan, as another media centre.
Rita added that the JIE Expo Kemayoran would host martial arts events, while the ICE BSD will be the venue for team sports, such as handball, volleyball and sepak takraw, or kick volleyball.
'Of the existing venues we only have to rebuild two of them, including an aquatic venue [in Senayan sports compound] and a velodrome sport compound [in East Jakarta],' she said.
The GBK stadium, which was built when Indonesia became the first host in 1962, would also need major renovations.
According to spokesman and youth and sports minister assistant for development and partnership Gatot S. Dewa Broto, they had talked to directors from the GBK Management Center and the state secretariat and finance ministry about GBK's renovation plan.
The National Development Planning Board (Bappennas) has agreed to provide funding for the renovation project, Gatot said.