Wed, 14 Jun 2000

Irene expected to reach Olympic semis

JAKARTA (JP): Indonesian women's sprinter Irene Truitje Joseph is expected to reach the semifinals in the Sydney Olympic Games in September.

Coach Pieter F. Noya said to achieve the target, Irene would warm up in the Asian Track and Field Championships at the Senayan Madya Stadium in August.

"If Irene can reach the Olympics semifinals, she will be the second Indonesian woman to do so after Carolina Riewpassa in the 1972 Olympics in Muenchen. However, Irene had to pass through the qualifying system while Carolina got a quota from the International Olympics Committee (IOC) and the International Amateur Athletics Federation (IAAF)," he said Tuesday after a training session.

The Indonesian Amateur Athletics Association (PASI) has qualified Irene and men's sprinter Yanis Raubaba for the individual events and the men's 4x100m team for the Olympics.

Pieter said he did not target his athletes to reach their best form in the Asian championships.

"Our target is the Olympics. The championships is merely a stepping stone."

However, he views China, Japan and Kazakhstan as tough rivals in the event from Aug. 3 to Aug. 5.

Irene herself expressed hope in sharpening her personal best in the 200 meters. Her best time is 23.82 seconds achieved last year during the team selection for the SEA Games.

Pieter also said the Olympics team would skip the Malaysian Open championships in Penang from July 20 to July 22.

"Our target is more the Asian Championships instead of the Malaysian Open. Perhaps PASI will send some athletes but not the Olympics team," he said.

Bernama reported that the Malaysian Amateur Athletics Union (MAAU) expected nine countries, including Indonesia, to compete in the event.

Irene said she wanted to compete in the Malaysian Open after competing in PON. "But the decision remains with PASI. This morning Pak Tigor Tanjung (PASI secretary general) told us that we won't be competing in the Malaysian Open."

Pieter said athletes would not have problems competing in PON as it has been arranged in the training programs. "PON is included in our program to reach their peak in the Olympics. There's no problem at all." (yan)