Indonesia’s new, yet-to-be-built capital will bid to host the 2036 Olympic Games

Construction began on the new capital city only last month, but Indonesia’s president Joko Widodo has already positioned Nusantara as a possible host city for the 2036 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Concept drawing of Indonesia's new capital city Nusantara where construction began July 2022 (IKN Photo)
Concept drawing of Indonesia’s new capital city Nusantara where construction began July 2022 (IKN Photo)

Last week Youth and Sports Minister Zainudin Amali and Soccer Association of Indonesia (PSSI) president Mochamad Iriawan met with Widodo who called for the city’s construction to include a state-of-the-art soccer training facility in Nusantara that would be supported by other infrastructure to make it a complete sports training center – and possible centerpiece for an Olympic Games.  Widodo had previously recached out to the Indonesia Olympic Committee (NOC), asking it to propose the new capital as the 2036 Olympic Games host.

“We welcome the direction of the President to continue the offer IKN (National Capital City) for 2036 Olympics bidding,” president of Indonesia’s NOC Raja Sapta Oktohari said in a statement, adding “We will carry out this task and work hard to be the first ASEAN country to host the Olympics.”

Amali told local reporters “some time ago [the president] gave directions to me for us to bid to host the 2036 Olympics, but the proposal already included the implementation in IKN.”

Oktohari and his team are engaged with the IOC’s Future Host Commission in an ongoing dialogue to host a future Games. Current capital Jakarta had been proposed to host in 2032 but the IOC selected Brisbane as a preferred candidate in the race, setting Indonesia and other interested nations aside. The Australian city was elected to host last year at a meeting ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Games.

“We are already in the status of ongoing dialogue in the bidding process, and we will continue because of the current IOC format for permanent dialogue,” Oktohari said.

“With IKN as the venue, we are optimistic because one of the points that will be assessed is the venue for the master plan to sustainability and legacy.”

In 2018 Jakarta cohosted the massive Asian Games along with Palembang. Next year Indonesia is set to host the ANOC World Beach Games in Bali along with the ANOC General Assembly that will welcome 205 international NOCs.

“The AWBG will be an important momentum for Indonesia to approach it directly so that we can get support and prove that Indonesia is ready to host the Olympics,” Oktohari said.

The president proposed the construction of a new city in 2017 to reduce pressure on overloaded Jakarta that is struggling with heavy traffic, pollution and is literally sinking into the ground due to the extraction of drinking water – causing the city to be prone to flooding. Plans were approved in 2021 and occupancy is expected to begin in 2024.

Nusantara will be located on the east coast of the island of Borneo in what is currently the province of East Kalimantan. The area is considered to be more central to the nation and in a region that is not threatened by earthquakes or volcanoes.

The 2036 host city is not expected to be elected until after current IOC President Thomas Bach’s term ends in 2025. Several nations have expressed interested in bidding including India, United Kingdom, Germany, Russia, Qatar and Turkey.

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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