Wed, 19 Mar 2003

Indonesian archers lack motivation: Former star

Musthofid, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Indonesian archers today lack the motivation to pursue a higher level in competition, according to former star Donald Pandiangan.

"There seems to be a change in the non-technical aspects on the part of the athletes. There is a flaw in their competitive attitude and motivation. They are less motivated to encourage themselves to step up to a higher level," Donald told The Jakarta Post on the sidelines of the national archery championship here on Tuesday.

However, the 1981 Asian champion said that he did not know the reason. "A psychologist may have to be brought in to identify the problem," he said.

Donald commented about the current stagnation in Indonesian archery since its surprising performance at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul.

An Indonesian female team managed to win a silver but it appeared to be a one-time bout of Olympic glory by the Indonesian archers.

Although it still dominates the Southeast Asia (SEA) region, Indonesia has failed to maintain its performance in the Olympics or the Asian Games.

Apart from the psychological flaw on the part of athletes, Donald pointed at the weak development program, insufficiency of qualified coaches, lack of competitions and low-standard of equipment as being the other problems with the national archery program.

He summed up the defects were brought about by a lack of financial supports.

"To spur the athletes to a higher level, we need not only to hold local tournaments but also to send them to more international tournaments as part of a continued program.

"The provinces should be encouraged to be active. But do they have qualified trainers? Only a few provinces can afford it," he said.

On the lack of skilled archers, Donald cited a recent student tournament which featured around 100 young archers but only 12 actually participated in the internationally recognized FITA event, in part because the equipment is much more expensive than that used in the Indonesian Archery Association (Perpani) and traditional events. Most of the student athletes took part in the Perpani and traditional events.

"It's all about money. We need Rp 2 billion (US$222,222) to run the program the whole year," he said, while adding that the next chairman of the Perpani should possess a capability to raise money.

Besides his Asian championship in 1981, Donald proved to be the king of archers in the Southeast Asia region during his heyday between 1977 and 1987, the year he retired as a player.

Donald swept all six gold medals on offer on each occasion of the four SEA Games in 1977, 1979, 1981, 1983. He skipped the 1985 edition before returning to the 1987 event where he won two gold medals.

As a coach he piloted Indonesia's archers to the silver medal at the 1988 Olympics with Lilies Handayani, Kusumawardani and Nurfitriyana Saiman.

Donald, now 57, is responsible for talent scouting at Perpani.