Fri, 05 Dec 2003

Old hand Jonathan fails to inspire in gymnastics

Musthofid, The Jakarta Post, Hanoi

Jonathan Sianturi failed to inspire his younger teammates in Indonesia's bid in the men's gymnastics competition team event at the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Hanoi.

With other team members -- Restu Wahyudi and Mohammad Aldilla Akbar Endriadi -- Indonesia finished in fourth place behind Thailand, Malaysia and the Philippines.

The Thai gymnasts, led by Sattra Suwansa, scored a total of 210.650 points to give the Thai contingent at the Games their first gold medal. Malaysia had to be content with second place on 209.500 points followed by the Philippines on 200.450 points.

Indonesia could only score 193.650 points from the floor exercises, pommel horse, ring, vault, parallel bars and horizon bar.

Jonathan, who won the only two golds at the last SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur in 2001, said that they had not been expecting much as the team was made up of inexperienced gymnasts.

"I'm not looking for excuse. The gymnasts put on a good performance at their own level. They showed what they could do during training. While we may fail, these young player have good prospects," Jonathan, who also acts as their mentor, said.

Team manager Gianti Imansyah appeared resigned to the result, saying:"That shows what we are like now. We'll need to build ourselves up in the future."

It was a predictable enough result for Indonesia as even before the team's departure to Hanoi it had lost two of its key members -- Lulu Manurung and Sepri Hariadi -- due to injuries.

Having originally expected to play a supporting role to Jonathan, the two had to abandon their Games hopes with Lulu injuring his biceps and Sepri getting a hand fracture during training.

With him being expected to inspire his younger teammates, Jonathan said he played safe during the event, the announcement of whose results was delayed for almost two hours because of computing problem at the Quan Ngua Sports Palace.

"I restrained myself from going for high points but with high risk. I just fancied looking for between eight and nine points," he said.

The 32-year-old Jonathan, whose Vietnam outing will be his last appearance in the SEA Games, scored 42.65 points on five apparatus. He did not go for the vault. The 20-year-old Endriadi, who is the youngest member in the team, was the highest scored in the Indonesian team with 47.55, followed by Restu on 46.60 and Akbar on 39.65.

The gymnastics competition provides 24 gold sets. Friday will see the women gymnasts compete in the team event.