Asian Para Games: Indonesia Hit Once Again By Disaster

(ATR) A minute of silence decreed for the opening ceremony after new calamity in Indonesia.

(ATR)The final preparations for the Asian Paralympic Games will continue under a state of mourning say organizers after an earthquake and tsunami have killed at least 800 in Sulawesi.

The Asian Paras open Oct 6 in Jakarta, about 2000km west of Sulawesi and unaffected by the magnitude 7.5 earthquake on Sept. 28.

"Indonesia is sad again," the Organizing Committee of the Asian Para Games (INAPGOC) said in a statement.

INAPGOC. The Asian Paralympic Committee has called for a minute of silence at the opening ceremony.

The presidents of INAPGOC, Raja Sapta Oktohari, and the APC, Majid Rashed, conveyed their condolences to the relatives of the deceased, the other victims and the residents of the areas affected by the natural disasters.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo said the military was being called to the affected region to help the search and rescue teams.

The tremors come a month after a trio of earthquakes hit several islands in the South Pacific and Indonesia, including Lombok, which is still recovering from the effects of the Aug. 5 earthquake that killed more than 430 people.

Originally the opening ceremony would have an artistic program to show the marine wealth of Indonesia and the participation of 1,500 dancers accompanied by orchestral music.

A day before the natural disasters, President Joko Widodo had encouraged the local Paralympic athletes by announcing that his government would provide the same cash bonuses for medals in the Asian Paras as for Indonesian medal winners in the Asian Games in AUgust.

Indonesian gold medalists in the Para Games will receive 1.5 billion rupees ($105,000), the silver medalists 500 million ($35,000), and the bronze medalists 250 million ($17,500).

A total of 41 countries have confirmed their attendance to the third Asian Games that will run until October 13 with competitions in 18 sports and 2,880 athletes.

This Sunday, the torch relay arrived in Jakarta after traveling through seven cities across the archipelago: Solo, in Central Java, Ternate, in Maluku del Norte, Makassar in South Sulawesi, Pontianak in West Kalimantan, Medan in the north of Sumatra and Pangkal Pinang in Bangka Belitung .

On Oct. 6 the relay will end at the main stadium where the cauldron will be lit and tribute will be paid to the victims of the tragedy.

Reported byMiguel Hernandez.

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