July 5, 2018 / 12:40 PM / a month ago

Asian Games in Indonesia attracts record number of athletes - OCA

(Reuters) - The 18th Asian Games being hosted by Indonesia next month has attracted a record number of competitors which could pose logistical challenges for the local organisers, the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) said on Thursday.

FILE PHOTO: Chief of the Indonesian Asian Games Organizing Committee Erick Thohir stands among mascots of this year's Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia, March 23, 2018. REUTERS/Willy Kurniawan/File Photo

Wei Jizhong, OCA’s honorary life vice president, was pleased with the overwhelming response for this year’s Games in Jakarta and Palembang, with 10,500 to 11,000 athletes expected to take part in 40 sports and 67 disciplines.

However, he also expressed concerns over the potential difficulties that lie ahead for the organising committee.

“Good news for Indonesia,” Wei said in a statement. “This may cause some difficulties but I am convinced that the Indonesia Asian Games Organising Committee has the capability to find a good solution with the OCA and all parties.”

FILE PHOTO: A worker cleans near a sign for the upcoming 2018 Asian Games, which would be held in both Jakarta and Palembang, Sumatra, in Jakarta, Indonesia September 17, 2017. REUTERS/Darren Whiteside/File Photo

The Games will also see North and South Korea fielding joint teams across three sports and six events and being represented under a unified flag.

The move comes amid warming ties between the two Koreas as relations between Pyongyang and Washington have also improved after tension last year over the North’s nuclear and missile programmes.

“I think it is very good to have a unified team because it will promote friendship between the two sides of the Korean peninsula,” Wei added.

In the women’s basketball draw on Thursday, the unified Korean team were drawn with Chinese Taipei, Indonesia, Kazakhstan and India in Group X.

The Asian Games will be held from Aug. 18 to Sept. 2.

Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Ken Ferris

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