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Suwat confident of indoor success : On October 7, 2005

[ASIAN INDOOR GAMES] Deputy Prime Minister for sports Suwat Liptapanlop said yesterday Thailand next month's Asian Indoor Games will be a success even though local organisers have been hit hard by a budget shortfall. Thailand will host the inaugural edition between November 12 and 19, which will feature nine sports events consisting of indoor athletics, futsal, aerobics, dance sports, extreme sports, hoop takraw, indoor cycling, Muay Thai and swimming.

However, with only a few sports in the eight-day meet being Olympic events, sponsors, who were initially expected to give their support as they did for major tournaments such as the SEA Games and the Asian Games, are paying no attention. This has caused a shortage of funds to organise the competition.

A huge budget of around Bt222 million is needed to stage the Games. To make sure everything goes as smoothly as planned, the organising committee has asked for financial support from the government, claiming funds from the finance and privilege committee did not meet the target. The Government Lottery Office has turned out to help and confirmed it will throw in a supporting budget of Bt202 million.

The organisers were advised they would not be required to give a percentage of their funds to the Olympic Council of Asia as dues since the money has come in the form of a donation from the Government Lottery Office and not from commercial or other privileges.

But upon learning of this, the OCA on Wednesday told the organisers that they were not exempted from paying their dues, regardless of the fact that the money was donated.

An ad hoc meeting was held at the Government House to consider the matter. It included Tourism and Sports Minister Pracha Maleenont, Maj-General Charouck Arirachakaran, secretary-general of the Olympic Committee of Thailand, and Santiparb Tejavanija, governor of the Sports Authority of Thailand.

Suwat, deputy chairman of the Asian Indoor Games Administration Committee, said the meeting decided to send Charouck, Santiparb, OCT deputy chairman Chaipak Siriwat and Wanchak Voradilok, chairman of the Asian Indoor Games finance and privilege committee, to Kuwait to negotiate with OCA president Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah.

"I think the negotiation should be successful and the alternative plan is there'll be no need [to pay the dues] even though the OCA has already rejected our initial plan. The budget came in terms of donations from the Government Lottery Office and not from private enterprise," Suwat said.

"Although we are suffering financially, I'm still upbeat that Thailand can host the Asian Indoor Games and it will be a memorable success."

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