Thu, 30 Mar 2000

Jakarta out to retain PON title

JAKARTA (JP): Jakarta is looking to retain the overall champion title at the 15th National Games in Surabaya in June, with a target of 135 of the 544 gold medals at stake in 35 sport events.

"We are still targeting to retain the overall champion title although PON is held in East Java. We understand that East Java will also do their best to grab the title," chairman of the Jakarta chapter of the National Sports Council (KONI), Abdul Kahfi, told Governor Sutiyoso at City Hall on Wednesday.

"We are also focused on setting new records, be they national or regional records."

Kahfi, who is also deputy governor of administrative affairs, said the widely dispersed venues could pose a challenge to the athletes.

"The venues are scattered in nine cities in East Java, making it difficult for us to manage our contingent. However, we have sent an advance team to those cities to supervise conditions there."

Another anticipated problem is the possible recruitment of bonek (hooligans) by the organizing committee to fill the stands.

"We all know that bonek have a notorious reputation. We are also worried by the judges and referees," he said.

Jakarta will comprise 548 athletes and 154 officials. They will leave for East Java on June 12 using the Argo Bromo train.

Sutiyoso, who heads the Indonesian Basketball Association (Perbasi) and the Indonesian Target Shooting and Hunting Association (Perbakin), said the contingent must pay attention to nontechnical matters.

"We will send our athletes earlier to enable them to evaluate the venues, especially outdoor ones such as long-distance cycling and shooting," he said.

"Officials must also consider athletes' psychological condition which can affect their performance."

Sutiyoso said he was considering giving cash bonuses to medal winners.

"I will also give bonuses to record breakers," he said, adding that athletes were only called upon to do their best. "It's fine to lose after giving your best. We can accept that." (nvn)