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Asian Games: Indonesia near certain to be 2019 host - official

Indonesia is "99 percent" certain to be named the host of the 2019 Asian Games after Vietnam's withdrawal, the influential Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) said on Thursday (Aug 7).

JAKARTA: Indonesia is "99 percent" certain to be named the host of the 2019 Asian Games after Vietnam's withdrawal, the influential Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) said on Thursday (Aug 7).

Vietnam had originally been picked to host the 2019 edition of the games, the world's biggest multi-sport event after the Olympics, but announced in April it was withdrawing for financial reasons. Indonesia is now considered the favourite to stage the games.

During a visit to the Indonesian capital Jakarta, OCA vice-president Wei Jizhong gave a strong indication the Southeast Asian nation's bid was on course for success. "It's 99 percent it will be Indonesia," Wei told reporters after meeting president-elect Joko Widodo, known by his nickname Jokowi, adding he was confident the country could deliver a "wonderful" games.

"We consider that Jakarta already meets all the requirements of the OCA for hosting the Asian Games," said Wei.

Indonesian officials earlier suggested the games could be staged in the country's second-biggest city Surabaya, but Wei has said that Jakarta would be more suitable. Widodo, who was last month declared the winner of the country's tight presidential election, added: "We are completely ready... If we start working on the infrastructure now, there won't be any problem."

The new host will be announced in September in Incheon, South Korea, during its stint as host of the games. Previously, sources told AFP that two other countries were vying to host the games.

Indonesia built new sporting facilities in 2011 to host the Southeast Asian Games. Southeast Asia's biggest nation has staged the Asian Games once before, in Jakarta in 1962.

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