Thu, 30 Aug 2001

POBSI tones down medal hopes at 2001 Kuala Lumpur SEAG

JAKARTA (JP): The Indonesian Billiards and Snooker Association (POBSI) has set a realistic target of winning one gold medal at the Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur next month, defying the ambitious quest for a triple demanded by the Indonesian Sports Council (KONI).

"We do have more chances in more than one event but we will be pushing hard to win even one gold," the team's head coach Andrie Ben said here on Wednesday.

Andrie said that KONI might have been buoyed up by the arrival of Michael Ferera, who is being hired for a short term. The Indian national coach will have been with the team for only around two weeks by the time the team departs to Kuala Lumpur.

"What sport can improve (significantly) in only 15 days?," Andrie said. "I see their mentality and confidence, which have signaled speedy improvement."

Ferera must have been aware about the short period in which he had to achieve a result.

"We can't expect a drastic turnaround. They already have good basic skills. While polishing is needed in certain fields, the most important thing is that I want to give them a boost," he said the other day.

The 63-year-old former twice world champion, who is supervising the snooker athletes, said that he was seeking to improve the players' cuing and agility.

Of 10 golds on offer in the billiards and snooker competition, Indonesia may nurture best hopes in the 9-ball doubles event through the pairing of M. Junarto and Adam Abdurrahman. The country won its sole gold in the sport at the 1999 Games.

"I'm confident I can win," said Junarto, of Japanese origin who has only recently become an Indonesian citizen.

Junarto, whose Japanese name was Junichi Kosugi, said that ahead of the competition he would isolate himself in training to pinpoint his weaknesses for enhancement.

According to the draw, Junarto and Adam will have to beat a Brunei pair before setting up a possible final match against strong opposition in Warren Kamkyo and Vivancio Tanio of the Philippines.

Medal prospects also lie on Muslim, who will play in the snooker division.

"He has achieved a (point) average higher that the 1999 champion Praprut Chaitanasakun," Andrie said. The two players met in 1997, when the Thai won.

With Malaysia expected to remain on its perch, the Indonesian squash team appears to be moderate about its medal hopes, saying that all it can do is end up with silvers.

After the 1995 event, in which Malaysia shared the four golds two apiece with Singapore, Malaysia has since then been the dominant force, with a clean sweep in the following two SEA Games.

"I would feel sinful even if I were just to dream of taking a gold. Malaysia looks invincible," said the team's head coach Bambang Gatot Subroto.

The Indonesian team, which had an outing to Malaysia on Aug. 13-23, comprises (male) Nuryanto, Donnie Manik, Fitri Parinding, Histawara, (female) Sri Utami Ningsih, Veni Luisa Mokalu, Juwita Rosali Mokalu and Diane Putri Asih. (01)