Sat, 26 Feb 2000

Damura fund intended for athletes in int'l events

JAKARTA (JP): The sports fund-raising program Damura (the People's Fund for Sports) will be used to finance prospective athletes to compete in international events, starting from the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games to the Olympic Games.

The National Sports Council (KONI) official in charge of media and promotion, Enny Hardjanto, told reporters after a meeting with Damura operator, PT Mutiara Mandala Mahardhika (3M), on Friday that the use of the funds was being studied by KONI vice chairman, Arie Sudewo, and officials in charge of athlete development.

"All the funds raised by the Damura operator will go directly to KONI and we will use it to finance potential athletes to compete in international events," she said.

PT 3M proposed to KONI to raise funds from the public by selling 10 million coupons at a cost of Rp 5,000 (70 U.S. cents) each.

Prize money from Rp 5,000 to Rp 25 million will be on offer. People can also use the coupon, which is valid for one month, to make life insurance claims up to Rp 2.5 million. They also have chances to win scholarships by sending the coupons to Damura center.

KONI will receive 6.5 percent of the total revenue which will hit Rp 50 billion.

KONI provincial chapters earlier questioned the small percentage for sports development. Some even asked KONI to renegotiate the percentage and some suggested they be allowed to seek funds from funds allocated the province.

Enny responded that the chapters must try to raise the funds themselves.

"However, the fund raising in each chapter's area should not burden the public," she said.

Enny said KONI chairman Wismoyo Arismunandar needed three months to negotiate with PT 3M to obtain the 6.5 percent donation.

She also complained of the difficulty in launching the program in April.

"I'm surprised at knowing how difficult it is proving to be to launch a fund-raising program which is official and transparent. Do we have to raise funds in illegal ways? Is that what we want?" she said.

Later on Friday, Arie said the Damura coupons might be printed by the state-owned money printing company PT Peruri sometime in the future.

"Damura coupons are printed using high-tech printers. If Peruri wants to take over the printing process -- to make the production cost cheaper -- we must prepare skilled human resources and have the machine here," said Arie, who is also PT Peruri's chief commissioner.

Arie said he did believe Indonesia would miss the SEA Games if Damura was banned by the government. Enny said several times that Indonesia might skip the Games as KONI had financial problems to raising the necessary Rp 100 billion.

"I think Bu Enny's statement was only to describe how difficult to raise fund to groom athletes and send them to multisports events."

"Frank, I still have no idea about the SEA Games funding. We will need Rp 100 billion to groom and send athletes to Kuala Lumpur.

"I'm focusing my attention on the Olympics because it's the closest one. Besides, KONI's main job is to develop sports, not business."

KONI will groom 1,297 athletes for the Games, but only 60 percent will be picked for the Indonesian contingent. Indonesia is aiming to reclaim its overall media champion crown from Thailand after it finished third in the 1996 Games. (yan)