The Asian Games 2018 village in Indonesia does not allow alcohol and that has caused problems for some of the officials.(REUTERS)
The Asian Games 2018 village in Indonesia does not allow alcohol and that has caused problems for some of the officials.(REUTERS)

Asian Games 2018: Alcohol-free Games Village leave officials high and dry

An alcohol-free zone is not a surprise considering Indonesia banned liquor sale from department stores in 2015, barring in the tourist-heavy Bali province and the Asian Games 2018 is no exception.
By Press Trust of India | Jakarta
UPDATED ON AUG 21, 2018 08:24 AM IST

The ‘no alcohol’ policy at the Asian Games Village has not gone down well with the coaches and officials travelling with the athletes.

Some have tried to smuggle alcohol into the Village but with little success.

An alcohol-free zone is not a surprise considering Indonesia banned liquor sale from department stores in 2015, barring in the tourist-heavy Bali province. Indonesia also has the largest Muslim population in the world.

“Only yesterday I saw whiskey bottles lying with the security guards at the Games Village. They are very strict about it. Though athletes don’t care much about the lack of alcohol, it is very normal to find a beer in the international zone of any major multi-sporting event including the Commonwealth Games this year,” a coach of the Indian contingent told PTI.

READ: Vinesh Phogat wins India’s maiden Asiad gold in women’s wrestling

While alcohol is readily available in pubs and restaurants in co-host Jakarta, it is tough to find even a mild beer in the port city of Palembang, the capital of South Sumatra province.

For those wanting to down a quick pint, the only way left is to step out of the sprawling Jakabaring Sport City, housing the Games’ venues as well the accommodation. The hotels, where many technical officials are put up, are serving alcohol but at a higher price.

“We go out sometimes for a drink but it is quite a task since the Village is cut off from the city,” said another official staying at the Village.

Complaints are also piling up over the size of the accommodation provided at the Village, which can house 3,000 athletes and officials.

Athletes and officials say the rooms are small and claustrophobic. The rooms have three beds and just one bathroom, something that has not gone down too well with the occupants.

“The rooms everywhere are basic but talking about this place, I don’t think I have stayed in a Games Village which has smaller rooms than here. There is no place to even keep a suitcase. There is hardly space to take a shower in the bathroom,” said a member of the Indian shooting team.

FOLLOW: Asian Games 2018, live score, live updates

Another athlete said the food quality was good at the start of the Games but has deteriorated since then.

“Nobody is asking for a five-star facility but there should be some space to keep your belongings,” said the athlete.

Each room has three beds and a small bathroom.

Shooting, tennis, rowing, canoeing, beach volleyball, sports climbing and sepaktakraw are among the sports staged in Palembang.

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