PALEMBANG, Indonesia: The Islamic Solidarity Games got under way in Indonesia yesterday despite a chaotic run-up to the event and debates over appropriate outfits for Muslim athletes.
More than 1,800 athletes from 46 Muslim-populated countries are taking part in the games in the world’s most populous Muslim country, organisers said.
“Let’s put aside our political burden,” Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said in the opening ceremony, as he paid particular tribute to the Egyptian, Syrian and Palestinian delegations attending the event.
“Through this event, let’s prove to the world that Islamic countries can live in unity and harmony,” he said.
The opening ceremony in Palembang, a city on Sumatra island, was modest, reflecting the lack of funding for the event.
Local organisers said they had yet to receive any cash from the central government.
“It’s scary. The funding has not been disbursed until now, we are asking left and right for support so the event can go ahead as planned,” Djoko Pramono, a senior organising committee member, said. AFP