Fri, 14 Jan 2000

KONI suggests Olympics athletes train in Sydney

JAKARTA (JP): Secretary-general of the National Sports Council (KONI) Rudolf S. Warouw proposed on Thursday that the women archers and the windsurfer who are being groomed for the 2000 Olympic Games should train in Sydney.

Warouw said that such would allow the athletes to the climatic condition in Sydney in advance of the Olympic Games this fall.

"But we will ask their coaches before making the decision. If the athletes could benefit from training in Sydney, why don't we just send them there for two or three months? They could make a fine adjustment," he said, adding that the archery field was located close to the beach.

He said that KONI would pay for the overseas training. He also said that, in order to save money, the athletes could stay at the residences of any Indonesian nationals living in Australia.

"Indonesian citizens living in Australia are willing to lend a hand. It could help reduce our spending," he said.

Indonesia has qualified two women's archers and a windsurfer to the quadrennial event. Archers Hamdiah, Nurfitriyana Lantang and their teammate Lusia Elizabeth, and national windsurfer Oka Sulaksana will train in preparation for the Olympics in a program beginning on Feb. 1 in Jakarta.

Separately, a member of the council at the Indonesian Yachting and Windsurfing Association (Porlasi), Indra Kartasasmita, supported Warouw's idea, saying that Oka would need about six months to adjust to Australian conditions prior to the competition.

"He should adjust himself to the changing of wind direction, its strength, and the rise and fall of the tides. But he needs adversaries to help him maintain his competitiveness," he said.

"Besides, Oka should learn to surf under the soft wind. He is good in surfing under the strong winds, but in my opinion, the wind in Sydney is quite mild," he added.

Indra also said that Porlasi had yet to decide whether it would hire world-class windsurfing coach Amith Inbar of Israel to train Oka for the Olympics. He said that Inbar had asked for US$1,500 (Rp 10.8 million) as weekly compensation.

"Oka needs a foreign coach who can help judge his performances, and can be freshly objective about Oka's weaknesses," he said.

Indra also suggested that Oka perform in the 15th National Games (PON) in Surabaya, East Java, in June, as part of his Olympics training preparation because the winds there in Situbondo are quite similar with those of Sydney.

"But he can choose to compete overseas if he gets financial support," he said. (ivy)