Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Pointless hosting Asian Games

        A deafening silence greeted the challenge thrown by Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek that it was up to the public to decide whether Malaysia should bid to host the 2023 Asian Games.
        If the minister was hoping for roar of approval to do it ,he must have been disappointed-but there is a suspicion that he too did not want to be responsible for such a decision.
        He knew that it would be an unpopular one especially since it is estimated to cost a bomb to host such a multi-sport event.
        The Government has already twice rejected attempts by the Olympic Council of Malaysia to host the Asian Games,once to host this years Asiad and more recently to host 2018 one.
        In both cases, the Government felt that it was too expensive to do so.
        Shabery revealed that for the 2018 Asian Games, the cost of organising is estimated to be more than RM 1.6bil. 
        Hosting the 2022 edition may, in his own words,"cost three or four times more."
        Guangzhou is reported to have spent more than RM 7bil to host the Games while India forked out some RM 18bil to host the New Delhi Commonwealth Games last month.
         Incheon City in South Korea will be hosting the 2014 edition while Hong Kong,the United Arab Emirates, Vietnam and India are bidding for the 2018 Games, which will be decided in 2012.
         It's no-brainier - Malaysia cannot afford it and the money saved could better spent on proper sports development like getting our athletes to be of Asiad or even Commonwealth Games standard.
         We are still reeling from the after-effects of hosting the 1998 Commonwealth Games . Many bills are still unpaid and there several suits pending in the courts over the hosting of the event.
          Just over a decade later, most of the 1998 venues are no longer a symbol of national pride. The National Stadium's pitch is reported to be among the worst football venues in the country and the turf had to be re-laid several times.
         Many of the facilities like toilets at all the venues are aged and need to be replaced. If we have problems maintaining 12 -year-old facilities why should we spend billions to build new ones just to host 5,000 over athletes,officials and newsmen for a couple of weeks ?
         Another reason not to host it is the standard of the sports as well as the type of sports that are now included in the Games. In Guangzhou, 476 events were on offer in 42 sports, making it the largest event in the history of the games.
         Hosting the Asian Games is definitely a job Malaysia does not need

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