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Bundaran Hosting – Athletes competing in the recently concluded Asian Games in Jakarta experienced the worst air quality in the city, which has hosted a major sporting event in recent years.

This year’s Asian Games in Jakarta had a car-free day. But despite government-imposed vehicle restrictions, air pollution levels exceeded World Health Organization guidelines during the Games. Photo: Yoshiharu10, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons

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The organizers of the recently concluded Asian Games in Indonesia were prepared for the worst: a forest fire engulfed Palembang, one of the host cities, in a thick, dense forest.

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Of course, air quality problems have surfaced, but not in Palembang. Instead, it is in Jakarta, the second host city, 430 kilometers (270 miles) away, where air pollution and high temperatures have made life miserable for some athletes competing in Asia’s biggest sporting event.

The race was very difficult – the hot weather, the humidity and not only the humidity but also the pollution,” said Indonesian runner Hendro Yap after recovering from a crash at the end of the men’s 50km race.

Hendro’s time of 4:32:20 was the slowest in two decades at the Asian Games; The fact that he was one of five players to finish the tournament in such conditions, he says, is a “miracle”.

“The competition here is not easy. This is Indonesia,” he said. “It’s a miracle I can finish it. It’s a miracle.”

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That he could “strongly feel the air pollution” during the race. The US Embassy’s air monitoring center in central Jakarta recorded high levels of PM2.5 that day, which are particulate matter less than 2.5 microns in diameter that are considered harmful to human health.

The embassy recorded PM 2.5 at 80 micrograms per cubic meter during the race on August 30, eight times higher than the World Health Organization’s “dangerous” level.

Hendro was not among the Asian Games athletes affected by air quality in Jakarta. 2017 world champion Rosa Chelimo of Bahrain said the heat and air pollution in Jakarta affected her performance in the women’s marathon on August 26 until she almost gave up.

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“I also felt something in my throat. The air here, you feel it’s hard to breathe,” the 29-year-old told AFP.

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While Chelimo won the race, her time of 2:34:51 was 10 minutes off her personal best. She was also seven minutes behind at the 2017 IAAF World Championships in London, where she won in 2:27:11, and at the 2016 Rio Olympics, where she finished eighth in 2:27:36.

Celimo’s performance in Jakarta is linked to the city’s toxic air. Concentrations of PM10 particles, which are smaller than 10 microns in diameter, averaged 60 to 70 micrograms per cubic meter in the capital during the Asian Games, organizers said. According to a 2010 study, for every 10 micrograms per cubic meter increase in PM10, the performance of female marathon runners is expected to decrease by 1.4 percent.

Daniel Kass, senior vice president of environmental health at Global Health Strategies, said air quality is expected to be Chelimo weather during the race.

“So you can see what happened in Jakarta, about 60 micrograms per cubic meter of PM10,” he told Mongabay. “When you use 5, 6 or 7 times the formula, you’re talking about a 10 percent drop in performance.”

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“The level of toxic pollution is so high that it can affect the performance [of athletes competing in the Asian Games]. Lauri Myllyvirta, GreenPeace Toxic pollutants senior global campaigner on coal and air pollution

Athletes are particularly vulnerable to the health effects of air pollution, as they breathe up to 20 times more than normal people during training and competition. This is especially true for marathon runners like Chelimo, who inhale and exhale roughly the same amount of air as a sedentary person for two full days during a race.

Athletes also breathe deeply, which increases their exposure to toxic pollutants. And without enough oxygen, athletes cannot achieve peak performance.

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“The level of toxic pollution is certainly high enough to affect the performance [of athletes competing in the Asian Games],” Greenpeace coal and air pollution campaigner Lauri Myllyvirta told Mongabay.

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During the Games held in August. Between September 18 and 2, Jakarta averaged 38 micrograms per cubic meter of PM2.5, nearly four times the WHO limit, according to Greenpeace. PM2.5 levels exceeded 75 micrograms per cubic meter at several points, including the men’s running event, and at times exceeded 100 micrograms per cubic meter.

As bad as Jakarta’s air quality is, it could be much worse. The city government imposed a traffic ban weeks before the game, effectively halving the number of cars on major roads.

The average PM2.5 level in Jakarta in 2018 is 35 micrograms per cubic meter, according to the global PM2.5 database published by Canada’s Dalhousie University. That’s more than any other city that has hosted a major sporting event since 2011, with the exception of Beijing 2015.

The average PM2.5 level in the Chinese capital that year was 88 micrograms per cubic meter. Ahead of hosting the 2015 IAAF World Championships, city officials took drastic measures to clean up the air, closing factories and restricting vehicles, sending PM2.5 levels well below Jakarta’s average.

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This means the Asian Games in Jakarta may have been the dirtiest sporting event since Delhi hosted the Commonwealth Games in 2010 and Johannesburg hosted the FIFA World Cup, according to Greenpeace Myllyvirta. He described the race in Jakarta as “a very bad game” because of the dangerous atmosphere in the city.

However, that didn’t happen to Jakarta officials, who now want to host the biggest prize of all: the 2032 Olympics.

In fact, the organizers and especially the president have been widely praised for the success of the Asian Games, and there is nothing surprising about it, according to Bondan Andrijanu, climate and energy campaigner at Greenpeace Indonesia. But the high profile of the Olympics should force the government to do more to combat air pollution, he said.

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“Delighted to host this great sporting event, we need to push the government to find real solutions to air pollution,” Bondan said in a press release. “The testimony of these players is a strong criticism of Indonesia as host.”

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The government spent about 30 trillion rupiah ($2 billion) to prepare for the Asian Games, most of which went to infrastructure such as stadium improvements and the athletes’ village. But the government has failed to provide clean air, which is one of the most important things athletes need, according to Margaret Quinn, head of environmental pollution at the Indonesian Center for Environmental Law (ICEL).

“The Asian Games are the right impetus for the Indonesian government to demonstrate its seriousness and commitment to building a healthy Indonesia,” she said.

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A warm welcome: Visitors take a photo at the Welcome statue at the Hotel Indonesia traffic circle. (JP/Dhoni Setiawan)

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The 18th Asian Games, currently taking place in Jakarta and Palembang, South Sumatra, are an opportunity to pay tribute to the charisma and vision of the country’s first president, Sukarno.

After 56 years, Indonesia returned to host the world’s second-biggest event amid criticism that it was too good to use the $34.4 trillion spent on the Asian Games to help the poor.

Some 11,326 athletes from 45 Asian countries flocked to Jakarta and Palembang to participate in the Games. Sukarno’s legacy will prove that 938 Indonesian athletes can achieve great success this time.

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In the 4th Asian Games in 1962, the country managed to finish second with 51 medals, 11 of which were gold, while Indonesia finished 17th in the South Korea Cup in 2014. She has only 20 medals, including four gold. medals.

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Like President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, Sukarno was criticized for his decision to host the 1962 Asian Games in Indonesia.

Hosting an international sporting event costs a lot of money, but Sukarno didn’t change his mind as he saw it as a platform to show that Indonesia was a great nation that deserved recognition.

At the time, the 17-year-old country’s economy was shaky, and the president’s plan was seen as ambitious.

Survivor: Sarinah Thamrin Department Store was once the tallest building in Indonesia and was built in preparation for the 1962 Games. Today, it houses shopping malls, restaurants and other businesses. (JP/Vendra Ajistyatama)

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However, if the event is not held in Jakarta, the Sarinah Mall, Welcome Monument, Hotel Indonesia, Semanggi Exchange, Gelora Bung Karno Stadium and the state-owned TVRI, which are a key part of the event, may not be there. Indonesian news and information before the Internet.

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