Sat, 29 Jan 2000

PRSI to provide scholarships for swimmers

JAKARTA (JP): Chairman of the Indonesian Swimming Federation (PRSI) Rahardi Ramelan vowed on Friday to provide scholarships for talented swimmers wishing to pursue higher education in the United States and Australia.

He said the education system in both countries allowed swimmers to maintain their careers while studying.

He said he would seek sponsorships from local companies to pay for the students' studies, in exchange for use of the firms' logos on their sports clothes.

He said the scholarships would be based on need.

"If they want to be successful in the pool and in their studies, they have to go this way. But I will have to find sponsorships. Hopefully, there will be companies who are interested in giving scholarships to the swimmers," he said after announcing the new PRSI officials for 2000 to 2003.

Young swimmers have traditionally faced difficulties in choosing between their studies and swimming. Most high schools and universities here do not include sports training in their education system, and many talented swimmers have given up the sport to concentrate on their studies.

Rahardi, who was reelected to a second term as PRSI chairman last December, said the federation succeeded in grooming swimmer Richard Sam Bera to be a national and regional standout and financed his studies in political science and economics at Arizona State University through his graduation in 1997.

Twin brothers Albert Christiadi and Felix Christiadi Sutanto were not so lucky. They were forced to quit their studies at Golden West College, Huntington Beach, California, due to the monetary crisis in 1998.

Commenting on the new organizational structure, Rahardi said he wanted to focus on developing junior swimmers instead of spending money to train veterans to go for top honors in many competitions.

"We have spent about 80 percent of our resources to groom senior swimmers so they can scoop as many golds as they can in every competition. As a consequence, we don't have second stringers. There are the third stringers but they are still developing."


He has retained Lisa F. Siregar in charge of competition and appointed former secretary-general Patuan Parluhutan Simatupang for athlete development. Patuan's post was handed over to Abdurrahim, who will be assisted by Dadeng Kurnia.

Rahardi, former minister of trade and industry, also formed a special board on commercial, media and promotional activities, which is headed by Patuan. Former national swimmers Elfira R. Nasution and Lukman Niode were appointed secretary and commercial director respectively, while Gusti Ayu Made Sadrini will now take on double duties as the media and promotion director and the federation's public relations officer.

Rahardi said seven swimmers -- Richard, Albert, Felix, Wisnu Wardhana, Elsa Manora Nasution, M. Akbar Nasution and Siripiya Sutanto -- would attend the World Cup meets in Berlin from Feb. 5 to Feb. 6 and Paris from Feb. 12 to Feb. 13.

They are being used as warm-up events for the 2000 Olympic Games. Except for Siripiya, the swimmers have qualified for the Olympics.

They, along with 15 other swimmers, four divers and four synchronized swimmers, will take part in the Asian Swimming Championship in Pusan, South Korea, from March 29 to April 2.

"Our swimmers and divers who have not qualified for the Olympics must reach the top five for the individual event and the top three in the team event," Patuan said. (ivy)