Wed, 15 Jan 2003

Bali to host Asian weightlifting meet

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The Indonesian Weightlifting, Powerlifting and Bodybuilding Association (PABBSI), which has been jolted by the recent resignation of six officials, will host the Asian Youth Weightlifting Championships in Bali next June, an official said on Tuesday.

Alamsyah Wijaya, the organization's spokesman, said the selection of Bali to host the event was made during the Asian Weightlifting Federation (AWF) congress in Pattaya, Thailand, last July.

"When we convened again in Bangkok the following October, the participants questioned whether the event was capable of going ahead in Bali following the Oct. 12, 2002, incident. But we were able to assure them that the event would be a success," Alamsyah told The Jakarta Post.

The Oct. 12 Bali bomb attacks took the lives of around 190 people, most of whom were foreigners.

Alamsyah said that up to 25 Asian countries were expected to send athletes to the tournament, which would be split into youth and junior competitions.

The junior competition would be for athletes under 20 years old while the youth contest would consist of those under 16.

Speaking about the commercial benefits that organizers were expecting from the event, Alamsyah said: "It's to be expected that the event will improve Bali's image after these wicked bombings."

An total of 30 classes will be contested with 90 gold medals up for grabs. The event will run from June 20 through June 30.

Hadi Wiharja, who is in charge of the championship's technical committee, said PABBSI would inaugurate a central training camp in Jakarta on March 1 for its 30 athletes, whose names will only be disclosed one week before the start of the camp.

"The athletes are made up of 15 junior and 15 youth athletes. They were picked out at the National Championships last November," Hadi said.

"We could have opted for a decentralized training process in which the provinces would take responsibility for their respective athletes' preparations. But it would be difficult for us to monitor the athletes," he said.

Hadi has taken over full responsibility for technical affairs following the resignation of Achmad Irwan Siregar on Monday, along with five other PABBSI officials.

The other five were Sinatra Kaeses, Warsito, Steve Tengko, Yopie Irawan and Yaya Sunarya.