The second-ever Islamic Solidarity Games opened in Indonesia this past weekend. Athletes from 44 nations with Muslim populations have come together for the games. But this year there has been controversy from the start, largely centering around the wearing of bikinis in certain sports.
Some nations demanded that all women cover up for the beach volleyball, track and field, and swimming events. Some countries also asked the organizers to again run male and female events on separate days. But organizers have refused to comply with these demands. â€œIf some countries do not want to use the bikini, thatâ€™s fine, but if other countries want to, we will allow that,â€ senior organizing committee member Djoko Pramono told the press. â€œWe agreed to apply international rules, including the dress code.
This first-ever Islamic Solidarity Games were held last year in Saudi Arabia, where there were no bikinis, and men and women competed on separate days. In addition, men were barred from watching women swim.
There have been months of delays and two changes of venue, now in Palembang city on Sumatra island. Unpaid laborers shuttered the stadium in the original host city, Pekanbaru, with the governor embroiled in multiple corruption scandals unable to help. It was then moved to the capital, Jakarta, only to be shifted again to Palembang after Sumatran officials complained, giving organizers less than two months to move everything to the new venue.
Pramono remains optimistic about the Islamic games. This yearâ€™s venues include archery, badminton and karate, and brings together nations from the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. â€œEverything is progressing, and Iâ€™m sure all 13 sports will be a success,â€ he said. The games are set to officially run until October 1st.