Wed, 15 Jan 2003

PASI urged to optimize RDC's resources

Musthofid, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The Indonesian Athletics Association (PASI) has been at the center of criticism over its failure to make the full use of the Jakarta-based Regional Development Center (RDC) to help improve its track and field athletes' international performance.

The Jakarta RDC is the regional office of the International Association of Athletic's Federation (IAAF) and is focused on helping improve athletics in 19 Asian countries.

However, being the home base for the Asian region, Indonesia, according to RDC Director Ria Lumintuarso, should have benefited more and could have optimized RDC's resources for the country's athletics development.

"We have the facility such as a library which could be used as a great information source. We have the latest information and as long as they come to RDC as often as possible, they should be able to keep up with athletics training and development in the world," Ria said on the sidelines of the opening ceremony of a two-day seminar on technology information here on Tuesday.

"The problem is that, whilst the books are written in English, many of our coaches or athletics officials have poor English. That's the barrier," he added.

Indonesia seems to be undergoing a decline in athletics signified by two recent competitions.

The Indonesian athletics team only managed to garner three of the 45 gold medals on offer at the 2001 SEA Games in Malaysia. In Asia, Supriati Sutono's gold at the 1998 Asian Games appeared to be the last achievement as the 2002 Asian games saw the team arrive home empty-handed.

Many years ago, Indonesian marathoner Gurnam Singh won the bronze medal in the fourth Asian Games in Jakarta in 1962.

Meanwhile, sprinter Purnomo earned a spot in the semifinals of 100-meter sprint in the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. He was the only representative from Asia at the time.

Aside from the fact that many other factors weigh on track and field success, Ria believes that optimal utilization of the resources within the RDC will be able to subsequently help enhance Indonesia's athletics performance.

As far as numbers are concerned, Indonesia also has an advantage over the number of participants allowed to attend RDC- initiated seminars.

At the current seminar, Indonesia is represented by 14 participants, four of whom are PASI officials and 10 others from the National Education Ministry.

Ria said the seminar was seeking ways to upgrade communications system for the federations to be able to obtain easy, quick access on athletics information.

"We are establishing a computerized system of mail boxes, by which information from the IAAF will readily and instantly reach the federations," he said.

"Such information technology is already familiar to the federations. However, some of us don't have enough knowledge about the technology and that needs to change."

Participants from 16 of 19 countries under the RDC's supervision attended the seminar, which has Italian Emanuelle Perotti Nigra as the keynote speaker.

The participating countries are Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, India, Iran, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam. Meanwhile, Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Bhutan were absent.