Indonesia pulled out of hosting the World Beach Games which had been set to be staged in Bali starting August 5, the global group of national Olympic bodies known as ANOC said Tuesday.
The announcement comes three months after Indonesia’s refusing to welcome Israel’s team for the FIFA Under-20 World Cup, which was moved on short notice to Argentina. About 1,500 athletes from 100 nations, including Israel, were expected to compete in Bali across 41 medal events. Indonesia is the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country and does not have formal diplomatic relations with Israel, while publicly supporting the Palestinian cause.
After Argentina stepped in to host the U20 World Cup, Israel achieved one of its best results in international soccer, reaching the semifinals.
ANOC said it had no option but to cancel the 14-sport championships including beach versions of soccer, tennis and volleyball, plus surfing and open water swimming because it was unable to find a replacement host with so little time. Bali also was due to host the ANOC annual assembly of more than 200 Olympic national bodies. That meeting is postponed until a new host can be found, ANOC said.
“ANOC offers its sincere apologies to these NOCs, athletes and the International Federations who have been committed partners of the event and to the fans around the world,” ANOC said in a statement. “While there have been challenges in the Games preparations, as at any major multi-sport event, ANOC had been regularly assured by the KOI that solutions would be found and the Games would go ahead as planned. ANOC and the KOI met for weekly coordination meetings, as recently as last week, and at no point did the KOI indicate there were any issues that would lead to such an outcome.”