Indonesia Considering 2032 Olympic Bid From New Unbuilt, Unnamed Capital City

Indonesia’s planned 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games bid could be proposed for the nation’s new capital city in Borneo that has yet to be built, or named.

IOC President Thomas Bach (left) meets Indonesia's President Joko Widodo in Jakarta September 1, 2018 (IOC Photo)
IOC President Thomas Bach (left) meets Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo in Jakarta September 1, 2018 (IOC Photo)

In February 2019 Indonesian President Joko Widodo filed a letter of intent with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) declaring current capital Jakarta’s bid to host in 2032, but last August the nation with a population of over 270 million people approved plans to move its capital to a new location in Borneo.

Jakarta along with Palembang hosted the 2018 Asian Games, but the populous city that is sinking and prone to flooding, pollution and traffic jams is no longer suitable for the seat of government.  That has prompted an ambitious USD $34 billion plan to build a new, state of the art replacement in what is currently a tropical forest.

According to Reuters, government officials are now in talks with an investment group including SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son to evaluate the Olympic opportunity.

Advisors including former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed al Nahyan have reportedly been engaged to raise funding for the development of the new capital including sports facilities, but have not specifically discussed the Olympics.

The IOC’s Olympic Agenda reforms urge Olympic host cities to use what venues they already have, wherever they currently exist, to reduce construction costs.  Accepting the Borneo bid would require a significant policy change for the organization that has struggled to rebuild its image after several consecutive budget-blowing Games.

The Indonesian government last year committed $40 billion towards the recovery of Jakarta’s infrastructure over the next 10 years, keeping the current Olympic bid plans feasible should the Borneo option fall through.

Indonesia To Focus On Athlete Training, Facilities And Flood Prevention In Preparation For Jakarta 2032 Olympic Bid

Last month the Indonesian national Olympic committee announced that a 1,500 square meter Indonesian Village will be temporarily constructed in Tokyo to support athletes at the Summer Olympic Games, and to promote the nation’s 2032 Olympic Games bid.

Located on a plot of land close to the Olympic Village in Harumi, Chou-ku, Tokyo, Indonesia House could cost about $14 million to build and operate and would be government funded, The Jakarta Post reported.

There is no set timetable for the bidding and awarding of the 2032 edition of the Games.  Last year new IOC rules did away with many of the formalities of the bid process, instead encouraging interested parties to engage in discussions with the IOC’s Future Host Commission and then move forward if mutual interest remains.

A bid from Southeast Queensland in Australia is the only other declared bidder in the race having officially filed intent in January this year.  Considered early front runners, officials from that Brisbane-centered bid say they will submit a full proposal in July ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Games.

Other interest in the 2032 edition has come jointly from North and South Korea as well as India, China, Germany, and the Netherlands.

A senior producer and award-winning journalist covering Olympic bid business as founder of as well as providing freelance support for print and Web publications around the world. Robert Livingstone is a member of the Olympic Journalists Association and the International Society of Olympic Historians.

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