The Jakarta Post
The 32nd National Sports Day was celebrated on Wednesday alongside the launch of the 18th Asian Games, with the government expressing its hope for glory when it hosts the continent's biggest multisport event in 2018.
The logo for the 18th games depicts the image of a cendrawasih or bird-of-paradise, a rare species in Indonesia exclusively found in Papua.
'Let us all work together for the greatness of our nation in the eyes of the world. This is the time to lift up our sports and tourist industry, which will hopefully contribute to our economy,' Youth and Sports Minister Imam Nahrawi said during a ceremony at Istora Senayan, Central Jakarta.
The logo, according to the minister, carries high hopes for the country's sports at the quadrennial event.
'Like a bird, we all want to soar high, reaching the peak of Asian sports. We will relive the same spirit we had in 1962,' said Imam, referring to the year Indonesia hosted games for the first time.
Imam said that a grand launch of the logo by President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo would be held at the National Monument (Monas) at a later date.
Highlights of the ceremony included the presentation of a token of appreciation from the government to 16 former athletes who had flourished at international events.
Imam also revealed the government's aim to bring back MotoGP in 2017.
'So in a few years, Indonesia will not only have hosted the sixth TAFISA Indonesia World Sport for All Games 2016, the 18th Asian Games 2018 and the third Asian Paragames 2018 but also the MotoGP event in 2017,' he said.
He said that he would ask the FIM international motorcycling federation to submit an official letter to the government.
'Together with the Tourism Ministry we have discussed some technical aspects of MotoGP,' he said.
'However, we still want to negotiate the Â¤7 million [US$7.7 million] guarantee fee because our budget is around Â¤2 million to Â¤3 million,' he said, adding that the Sentul International Circuit in West Java would likely host the world's most prestigious motorbike race.
The circuit hosted the event in 1996 and 1997. In 1996, Australian Michael Doohan won the 500 cc class, while Italian Valentino Rossi won the 125 cc class in 1997.
Alluding to the games, Imam said that preparations were on track, including budget allocations.
The Indonesian Olympic Committee (KOI) had previously urged the government to immediately issue a presidential instruction (Inpres) to hasten the country's preparations for the games.
Imam promised to help push all relevant parties to settle preparations immediately.
'I think the instruction will be issued by November at the latest.'
The games are scheduled to run from Aug. 18 until Sept. 2 in Jakarta and Palembang, the capital city of South Sumatra.
KOI president Rita Subowo said that she planned to bring up a special request at the Olympic Council of Asia meeting in Azkabad, Turkmenistan next week.
'We will propose that both co-hosting cities, Jakarta and Palembang, be officially mentioned [in the event's title] ' not just Jakarta,' Rita said.
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