Sat, 29 Mar 2003

Djoko back to manage SEA Games team

Musthofid, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Djoko Pramono, who in the past led the Indonesian contingent to a big victory in the 1997 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, has been handed another challenge with his appointment on Friday as the training chief for the 2003 Vietnam games preparations.

Djoko's appointment was announced by Oyong Karmayuda, the secretary-general of the National Sports Council (KONI), during a media conference following an earlier meeting of the council.

KONI Chairman Agum Gumelar chaired the meeting, which was attended by all of his staff.

Djoko, whose is KONI's director of development, will be assisted by a project manager whose name KONI has yet to announce.

The 1997 games marked the last time Indonesia was able to dominate Southeast Asia's biennial sporting showcase. The following two editions in Brunei Darussalam and Malaysia proved to be disasters for Indonesia.

In a bid to boost the nation's chances in Vietnam, Djoko has already stepped up the pace, saying he had met with officials from 18 sports organizations so far.

However, learning from KONI's failures over the last two games, the organization, according to Oyong, would head to Vietnam with no ambitions of recovering its former pre-eminent position, a policy of self-restraint that Djoko himself had stressed during a recent informal meeting with the media.

"In today's meeting, KONI decided that for the next games medals are not everything. Without disregarding those having good medal prospects, we will concentrate on giving our young athletes the chance of participating in the event," Oyong said.

Indonesia plans to compete in 26 sports in Vietnam. The training workout will commence officially in the fourth week of April and will be split into two phases of three and four months respectively.

Unlike the second phase, in which KONI will take responsibility for the workout, the first phase will be organized by the respective sports organizations with KONI providing some financial support.

To finance the preparation of the athletes and their visit to Vietnam, KONI would propose a new budget to the Ministry of Finance with the committee, according to Oyong, emphasizing a realistic figure this time around.

The previous budget proposal, which amounted to Rp 200 billion (US$22.2 million) and was submitted by the old board of KONI, was rejected by the ministry.

While the new proposal is still being calculated, Oyong said that other funding sources would be sought. "As in the past, we will turn to the Bung Karno Sports Complex Management and Bank Mandiri," he said.

Friday's meeting, according to Oyong, also resolved that KONI will work even harder to ensure the enactment of the sports bill into law.

Two teams have been established, one to review the content of the bill and the other to lobby the government and the House of Representatives.