Sat, 08 Apr 2000

Anton hopes for KONI helping hand

JAKARTA (JP): Indonesian men's table tennis player Anton Suseno hopes the National Sports Council (KONI) will support him financially in an overseas stint in the United States and Brazil in July.

The trip is planned as a warm up prior to the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney in September.

Anton told reporters on Friday that he needed US$3,500 to compete in two International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) pro tour events: the US Open in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, from July 6 to July 9 and the Brazilian Open in Rio de Janeiro from July 13 to July 16.

He is also expected to train in China in August to sharpen his skills.

"I have collected Rp 6.75 million ($876) to fund my tryout. But I still need more than $2,500. I asked KONI to cover the deficit but I'm still waiting for an answer," he said.

"I also receive financial support from donors who are supportive of me, but the amount is not sufficient."

Anton said coach Adjat Sudrajat would not accompany him to the competition. "We have to double the spending if my coach comes along."

Anton has been training in Bandung for the Olympics and also the 15th National Games (PON) in Surabaya in July.

"West Java is targeting two gold medals from the mixed doubles and men's singles. I don't know if I can reach the target, because I won't be at my peak performance in June. Besides, I will face my colleagues who have skills equal to mine."

Anton finished 15th in the Asian Championships, which was also an Olympic prequalifying round.

KONI provides each athlete Rp 500,000 in monthly compensation, a Rp 50,000 daily stipend for board and lodgings and Rp 1.8 million for sports equipment during training programs. Each athlete also receives $900 to compete in one overseas event.

It also gives $3,000 to each foreign coach hired by the sports organization during training preparation.

Secretary-general of the Indonesian Table Tennis Association (PTMSI) Johnny Waworuntu said Indonesia aimed to reach the world's top 16 in the Olympics.

"It's very difficult to get higher than the world top 16 in the Olympics. Anton has done very well by qualifying for the event, and PTMSI is grateful to KONI for sending him to Sydney."

Separately, the Indonesian Yachting and Windsurfing Association (Porlasi) official in charge of athletes development Raymond Kotambunan said national windsurfer Oka Sulaksana would be coached by Bruce Kendall of New Zealand in his preparations for the quadrennial event.

"KONI will pay his salary. Bruce asked for $250 a day, excluding traveling expenses and accommodation. We will hire him for 61 days," he said.

He said that Amith Inbar of Israel was not available to train Oka as he was a member of his country's Olympics team. (ivy)