Results wanted, not excuses
JAKARTA—This isn’t the Olympics but the expectations for the host city of the Asian Games to deliver are just as high.
This bustling Asian metropolis is hosting the Games anew after first doing it in 1962. It’s a different time and place as so much has changed in the city: A larger population, more vehicles and an endless row of new infrastructure blending with old buildings.
The Senayan sports complex, the epicenter of the event, looks brighter and livelier than when I first worked here in the 1997 Southeast Asian Games. A plush media center for broadcasters, print and online journalists is in a constant state of activity as the mad rush to cover events explodes everyday.
The diversity of cultures is astounding as more Western media work side by side with their Asian counterparts.
There are seasoned sports media veterans now working alongside much younger scribes, most of whom are providing content for online platforms. There was a time when you could hear the rhythmic typing in the media room. This has been replaced by the quieter tapping on laptop keyboards.
You couldn’t help but reflect what kind of infrastructure the Philippines will need as it continues to host such events like the 2019 SEA Games and the 2023 FIBA World Cup. The traditional Filipino warmth and hospitality as well as the familiarity with English are going to be assets for hosting. But it might be a good time to take a long-term view of international hosting not just for sports but for other events as well.
It’s also time to revisit the need for a new national sports complex attuned to the present-day needs of athletes, the media and spectators.
The Rizal Memorial Sports complex, saved by the call of advocates to preserve a truly historical landmark, has seen better days. It should be preserved as a monument and be given a break.
Indonesia has gone all out for the games even if some venues were finished in the nick of time. The hosts know that excuses will not sit well with their guests. The Philippines should learn from this and be ready to deliver again when we host. We’ve had great success in the past and that should prod us to do even better.