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Asian Games 2018

Asian Games: no booze, no problem for Hong Kong team amid crackdown on drinking in athletes’ village

Organisers are complaining that those who have finished their events are bringing in alcohol, which is strictly controlled in Indonesia

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 28 August, 2018, 3:54pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 28 August, 2018, 4:27pm

A crackdown on booze at the athletes’ village is a sobering experience for many sportsmen and women who like to indulge but for Hong Kong athletes, it makes little difference. They are banned from drinking anyway.

Organisers of the Jakarta Asian Games have warned athletes that alcohol is not allowed in the village after competitors who had finished their events were seen knocking back a few bottles inside the compound.

For Hong Kong athletes, however, it is not a problem.

“We told them in a team briefing in Hong Kong before we left for the Jakarta that there would be no drinking,” said a Hong Kong official. “It is the same with past games for the Hong Kong team.”

Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country, banned the sale of alcohol in most convenience stores and small shops outside holiday hotspot Bali in 2015, although it is still widely available in supermarkets, bars and hotels.

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Harry Warganegara, of Games organising committee Inasgoc, said: “There were some [athletes] who came in with beer … we have prevented that, many bottles.

“We inspect. They cannot bring it in … it’s not healthy. Smoking is also not allowed.”

Warganegara was responding to complaints that athletes were bored of the food and drink served at the accommodation provided for competitors.

“We cannot control the athletes 100 per cent. [They say] ‘I have already lost anyway, I’m an official, I’m not playing, I can drink.’ But they can’t be like that,” he said.

About 17,000 athletes and officials are taking part in the 18th Asian Games in Jakarta and Palembang, the biggest sports event in Indonesia’s history.

Additional reporting by AFP