"I could not accept the statement that mocked your achievement as coming from the advantage of Indonesia being the host. All hosts will get advantage," he said at a meeting with Asian Gamed 2018 medalists, officials and coaches to hand over their bonus at the State Palace here on Sunday.
"It is not only us but any country that becomes the host will get an advantage. However if the athletes do not perform well no matter who is the host it will also lose. I could not accept statement like that because I know you have fought and worked very hard. I know your achievement is the result of your hard work," he said.
President Joko Widodo reminded that medals were not the only aim of the event, adding that it was also about building sporting spirit, big heartedness, discipline, diligence, solidarity and also brotherhood.
"You have prepared for this event for years. You have trained, worked hard tirelessly, participated in various training programs,tryouts, competitions at home and abroad meaning spending time far away from families and friends," he said.
"We know the Asian Games will be closed this evening. However I feel I still wish to be able to open it again. I wish to be able to ride a motorcycle again (referring to his action in a screenshot shown at the opening). I wish there will be more medals to be added to the 31 gold medal collection. I also wish to see national anthem being heard again and national flag being raised again," he said.
Indonesia collected 98 medals consisting of 31 gold, 24 silver and 43 bronze medals in the 18th Asian Games to rank fourth after China, Japan and South Korea.
President Joko Widodo expressed appreciation to the organizer for having successfully served 17,000 athletes, officials and 150,000 supporters from home and abroad in the event.
"We know we have only 3.5 years to prepare the infrastructure of the facilities for the international event while other countries may have eight to ten years. The vice president, ministers almost every day checked the venues. I also did it to see if the management has done well," he said.
The Indonesian government has given a bonus to medalists as well as non-medalists participating in the event.
Reporting by Desca Lidya Natalia
Editing, Yoseph Hariyadi, Suharto
Editor: Andi Abdussalam
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