PALEMBANG, Indonesia: The Islamic Solidarity Games got under way in Indonesia on Sunday despite a chaotic run-up to the event and debates over appropriate outfits for Muslim athletes.
More than 1,800 athletes from 46 Muslim-populated countries including Syria, Egypt and Iraq are taking part in the games in the world's most populous Muslim country, organisers said.
The opening ceremony in Palembang, a city on Sumatra island, was modest, reflecting the lack of funds for the event.
Local organisers said they had yet to receive funds from the central government.
The event, which will continue until October 1, has faced a string of other problems including two changes of venue.
It was moved from Riau in Sumatra to the capital Jakarta, only to be shifted to Palembang after Sumatran officials complained.
Organisers had less than two months to move everything to the new venue.
The games were first held last year in Saudi Arabia, where not only were there no brief costumes but men and women competed on separate days and men were barred from watching women swim.
However, the Indonesian organisers have ruled out such restrictions.
They also rejected requests by a few countries to stage male and female events on separate days.
The head of Indonesia's Olympics Committee Rita Subowo told AFP that the Indonesian beach volleyball team would wear two-piece customes for ease of movement and because such outfits were approved by the International Olympic Committee.
The games started with basketball and soccer, and 11 other sports will begin in the coming days.
Eyebrows have been raised over the Palembang complex, where parts of the ill-fated 2011 Southeast Asian Games took place.
Some facilities were not fully constructed when the 2011 event opened and scores of athletes suffered food poisoning there.
During the 2011 games two football fans were crushed to death in a stampede at a venue in the capital.
But Pramono was optimistic about the Islamic games, which bring together member nations from the Organisation of the Islamic Conference. (AFP)