Indonesia Cites Security Concerns in Myanmar Games

A top Indonesian sports official has expressed concern about the safety of the country’s athletes at the Southeast Asian Games in Myanmar this December, following bombings in the country last week.

Rita Subowo, the chairwoman of the Indonesian Olympic Committee (KOI), said on Tuesday that her office was working closely with the SEA Games Council and other authorities on ensuring security for the athletes at the Dec. 11-22 event.

“We will keep in touch with the Indonesian Embassy in Myanmar, the Myanmar National Olympic Committee and the SEA Games Council to stay updated over the latest situation in Myanmar,” she said.

“I believe they will keep us informed. And if things don’t go smoothly, they will issue a travel warning to all participating countries,” Rita added.

She said that despite the series of bomb blasts in eastern Myanmar and in Yangon last week, including at a hotel popular with foreigners, Indonesian sports organizations would continue preparing and training athletes for the Games.

“It’s not yet a major threat because the local authorities have been able to keep the situation under control. So in the meantime we will continue to prepare our athletes for the event,” she said.

“We hope security won’t be a major issue, because the Games are two months away. But it’s our beyond authority.”

Myanmar state media said the attacks, which left a municipal worker dead and an American woman injured, appeared to be targeted at tourist spots as the country gears up for an influx of foreign visitors.

Last week, Richie Garcia, the Philippine Sports Commission chief, expressed concern over the bombings ahead of the biennial event, while the Olympic Committee of Malaysia also aired similar concerns.

“As long as our athletes and officials are not endangering themselves, we will take part. But we have to make sure there are no problems when we get there,” Garcia said last Friday.
The 27th SEA Games will be held in Yangon, the capital Naypyidaw, Mandalay and Ngwe Saung Beach.