Fri, 06 Jun 2003

PRSI may lower recruitment standards

Musthofid, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

In the lead-up to the 22nd Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, the Indonesian Swimming Association (PRSI) will likely ease its recruitment standards following modest performances by some of the swimmers at a recent swimming meet.

PRSI had short-listed 41 swimmers -- 23 men and 18 women -- early in March but after the National Age Group Swimming Championship, which ended in Jakarta at the weekend, only 20 qualified.

Among the qualifiers was veteran Richard Sam Bera, who won both of Indonesia's swimming gold medals at the 2001 SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur.

"Twenty one swimmers have failed to qualify. That is more than half the number," PRSI secretary-general Abdurrahim said in Jakarta on Thursday.

However, those who failed would not automatically be denied a chance to make the squad, he said.

"We will evaluate why they failed. Is the gap between their marks and the limits not too wide? If it's only by a hundredth of a second, the swimmers still deserve to join the training camp," Abdurrahim said.

PRSI will announce more recruits next week, while the team, expected to consist of 25 members, will be announced at the end of July.

The 20 automatic qualifiers exclude six overseas-based swimmers. They are U.S.-based Hendrik Eko, Felix C. Sutanto, Ati Yuliani and Hanny Dwi Prasetyo, and Australia-based Siripiya Sutanto and M. Akbar Nasution.

Only Hanny competed at the national championship, recording 54.83 seconds in the 100-meters freestyle and 2.128 minutes in the 200-meters freestyle. The limit was set at 55.13 seconds and 2.135 minutes respectively.

PRSI also announced the recruitment of Elsa Manora Nasution, a regular member of the national team, who was not in the initial 41-strong list but managed to beat the limit.

Abdurrahim said the time limit had been set based on the SEA Games' marks, which were roughly equal to fifth or sixth place in the respective events.

"We have to be realistic about our strength. We will not be talking just yet about how we can win golds in Vietnam after we could only win two golds in Kuala Lumpur," said Abdurrahim.

The aquatics competition, which includes swimming, diving and water polo, offered 43 golds at the 2001 SEA Games.

Ahead of the Vietnam event, PRSI has three options of overseas tryouts for the squad: The 10th FINA World Swimming Championship in Barcelona in July, Universiade in Daegu, South Korea and the Asian Age Group Championships in Macau, both in August.