SANUR (Indonesia) (AFP) - While other countries in Asia have hosted major multi-sport events over the past 40 years, Indonesia, despite its sprawling size, has been left in the wilderness. Since it held the 1962 Asian Games in Jakarta, it has been routinely overlooked, largely due to its poor sports infrastructure, lack of organisational skills and security issues. All this makes the Asian Beach Games, which were officially opened in Bali Saturday evening, critically important not only to Indonesia's future hopes of holding more high-profile events, but to how the country is viewed. "The nation's image is at stake," said the Jakarta Post in an editorial."Any harm done, whether in the form of poor infrastructure or lax security, will cancel out the work of the organisers and government in their bid to show the world that our nation is well-qualified for hosting a major sports event." Security is tight with organisers worried about any incident that could frighten off tourists, just as the island recovers from the deadly bombings in 2002 and 2005.More than 200 people were killed in the first attack with the economy hitting the skids and tourists fleeing. Another 20 died in the 2005 explosions. It was largely due to those tragedies that the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) handed the inaugural Games to Bali without a bidding process. "The member countries felt that these Games would demonstrate the mutual support among Asian countries that Indonesia has emerged from this tragedy," said Beach Games organising committee director Rita Subowo. How Bali copes with hosting the event is being closely monitored by the OCA, whose president Shiekh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah is attending, along with International Olympic Committee chief Jacques Rogge. Hour-long queues at immigration on arrival at Denpasar airport, poor organisation at accreditation centres and limited facilities at venues have not done Bali any favours so far, nor have sparse crowds. Subowo knows what is at stake. "We have to admit that we lack many things. But because this is the first event, Indonesia cannot compare it with previous Games," she said. "If we fail as host this time, it will be difficult to get a second chance. The hosting capabilities of Indonesia are being evaluated by the participants." It's been a tough fight to get this far with the global financial meltdown rearing its ugly head at the wrong time. The Games was always going to struggle and organisers have had to scramble to find financing, with a central government injection of 50 billion rupiah (five million dollars) last week saving the day. But they are not out of the woods yet with much of the money promised but not yet received. "Thank God the 50 billion rupiah finally came through from the government, although about 20 billion has not yet been realized," said Subowo. Some 60 percent of funding was now coming from Jakarta, with the rest from sponsorship and donations. Around 3,000 athletes from 45 countries are taking part, pitting their wits in 17 sports. They include: beach handball, kabbadi, pencak silat, sepaktakraw, soccer, volleyball, wrestling, body building, dragon boat racing, jet skis, marathon swimming, paragliding, sailing, surfing, triathlon, windsurfing, and woodball.