Tue, 30 Aug 1994

KONI to send 151 athletes to Asiad

JAKARTA (JP): Amid a Rp 1.4 billion (US$646,050) deficit and after some delay, the national sports governing body (KONI) has decided to send 151 athletes in 23 sports -- including three in non-Olympic events -- to the 12th Asian Games in Hiroshima in October.

KONI executive Suweno said that the organization expects to win a minimum of four gold medals at Asia's biggest sporting event, all in badminton. Indonesia, which won the Thomas and Uber Cups recently, is currently the world's leading badminton powerhouse.

Suweno added that KONI hopes to take home more medals than at the last Asiad in Beijing in 1992. At that time Indonesia finished seventh on the medals table with three golds, six silvers and 21 bronzes.

The top six in 1992 were China, South Korea, Japan, North Korea, Iran and Pakistan. Countries formerly in the Soviet Union did not participate then.

In October, however, those countries, which include Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgystan will take part.

"KONI did not impose any special targets on whether we should gain a higher ranking this time around," he said.

"It is more important to get more medals," he added.

Suweno also said that this is why KONI, faced with serious financial constraints after the closure of the national SDSB lottery, must be more selective in choosing which events to participate in.

The executive, however, did not explain why KONI funds are being used on three non-Olympic events, including wushu, soft tennis and sepak takraw.

Analysts have expressed grave doubts about Indonesia's chances in gaining any medals in those three events. (hdj)