Tue, 08 Aug 2000

PABBSI makes one-sided decision to expel Supeni

JAKARTA (JP): New officials of the Indonesian Weightlifting, Powerlifting and Bodybuilding Association (PABBSI) one-sidedly expelled women's weightlifter Supeni from its Olympic Games training program on Monday just two days prior to its final selection at Pringsewu, Lampung.

The expulsion sparked controversy in the meeting between the National Sports Council (KONI) and officials of Olympic-qualified sports' organizations.

Olympics weightlifting team manager Djoko Pramono claimed during the meeting that he had not been informed about the decision.

None of the PABBSI officials were willing to give any reasons for Supeni's dismissal. Olympics training director Arie Sudewo, Djoko and the association representatives were still engaged in discussions on the dispute as of the time of going to press.

Djoko expressed regret on the hasty judgment, saying that the new officials should have waited until Wednesday when a five- person team would evaluate three lifters, namely Sri Indriyani and Lisa Rumbewas in the 48-kilograms division and Winarni in the 53-kilograms division.

Sri and Winarni are being coached by Imron Rosadi in Lampung while Lisa is being trained at PABBSI chairman Dharma Surya's training camp in South Kalimantan.

The second-leg selection for Supeni (53kgs) will take place at the Ragunan sports school in South Jakarta on Aug. 14.

Indonesia only earned three tickets in Olympic women's weightlifting after finishing eighth at the World Weightlifting Championships in Athens last year with one gold and four silver medals.

Last week, Dharma pledged he would not intervene in the selection process after his installation ceremony.

"I received information today (Monday) that Supeni is being expelled from the team. The letter was signed by secretary general Col. Gandrung. I am still the team manager, but I was not invited to discuss this," Djoko said emotionally.

"I can't understand why they don't wait until Aug. 9 for the selection. By conducting a selection, both the athletes and coaches will be satisfied whatever the decision may be."

Djoko said Supeni's dismissal was based on 'mathematical factors'. He refused to comment on the allegation that favoritism was behind the decision.

"We must view all aspects before making a decision. They can not just decide it based upon mathematics. There are several factors besides technical skills which are required to compete in a major event such as the Olympics. Mental and psychological readiness are two major considerations," said the retired marine major-general.

Meanwhile, Arie was trying to be more positive about the controversy. He said PABBSI officials might not want to miss the deadline of for the registration of names on Aug. 18. However, he admitted that the action did not comply with the procedures.

"PABBSI officials are new. They don't want to miss the deadline so they took the initiative in naming the team members. I only see them acting in good faith and so I will help in resolving the dispute," he said.

Arie stressed that weightlifting, along with badminton, boxing and windsurfing present great chances of winning bronzes in the quadrennial event.

"We want to preserve the gold medal tradition. Only badminton, especially the men's players, has a significant chance of contributing golds and silvers. But we also expect bronzes from windsurfing, weightlifting and boxing."

He also asked the athletes, coaches and officials to concentrate on the training program. "Anything that could badly affect the training should be avoided and neutralized immediately," said the retired Army lieutenant-general.

Separately, Olympic tennis training director Martina Widjaja said that Indonesian women's tennis player Yayuk Basuki had a slight chance of earning a ticket to the women's doubles at the event.

"Yayuk has used her special ranking in the singles at Wimbledon and in the doubles at the Australia Open. But she has lacked the motivation to make her comeback. I just encourage her to keep training for multi sports events including the SEA Games and Asian Games," she said. (ivy/yan)