Fri, 11 Feb 2000

PON still needed to recruit Asiad, Olympic athletes

JAKARTA (JP): The National Sports Council (KONI) officials said they still consider the National Games (PON) necessary for recruiting young athletes to join the national team, but regulations and sport categorizations needed to be improved.

The KONI official in charge of athletes development, Muhammad Hindarto, told reporters on Thursday that the council must prioritize sports which are featured in the Asian Games and the Olympics to further athletes' goals in the international multisport events.

"PON is meant to recruit young athletes to join the national team. They are expected to represent the country in the Olympics in the future. For that purpose, PON sport events must be based on the sports featured at the Asiad and Olympic Games," he said during a lunch break at the KONI members annual meeting.

Hindarto emphasized that some sport events featured at PON would not be at international multisport events.

"At PON we have a motorcycle road race and roller skating as exhibition events. We cannot turn down their request to stage the event because those sport organizations are members of KONI."

Hindarto said KONI must improve its statute at its plenary national congress in the year 2003.

"The new statute may regulate that only sports featured at Asiad and Olympics will be staged at PON. Other sports, which are still admitted as KONI members, are allowed to stage their annual national championships."

Earlier, KONI vice chairman, Arie Sudewo, also shared the same opinion that Indonesia still needed to have a national games event as the recruitment process for the higher level of multisport events.

"For next year's Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Kuala Lumpur, we will recruit our athletes from this year's Olympic team and PON winners," said Arie, who is also the executive training director for Indonesia's contingent at the Olympics and the SEA Games.

"KONI expects sport organizations to carefully observe young potential athletes in PON as they will be groomed in a long-term training program for the SEA Games."

Arie gave a thumbs down to criticism from Ismangun Notosapoetro, a member of the House of Representatives Commission VI on Religion and Human Resources.

Ismangun said PON was no longer effective in developing athletes as many provinces preferred to trade athletes among one another. He also said this disabled KONI from seeking young talent because provinces preferred to field their international- class athletes to take as many gold medals as possible.

"I think the idea to dismiss PON is based on only one person's idea. PON has been held every four years since 1958. We can't cancel it just because of someone's suggestion," Arie said.

"I think PON is still necessary to make KONI's provincial chapters and sports organizations responsible in their duties to groom young athletes in their respective areas."

"If we really want to make PON as a talent scouting arena, we must improve the system. We must modify the regulations on athlete transfers and it will be discussed in KONI's annual congress next week."

KONI will stage a two-day congress at Hotel Mulia Senayan on Feb. 15 and Feb. 16 and will officially set up the Olympic contingent.

Arie said in the meantime, PON would remain a quadrennial event.

"Many chapters have urged us to stage PON every two years. It's really difficult to arrange an annual calendar for so many sport events based on their national or international tournaments. We are still working on it," he said.

"However, KONI has decided that the next PON will be staged four years after the one in Surabaya in June."

Four provinces -- North Sumatra, South Sumatra, West Java and Central Java -- have submitted proposals to host the event. (yan)