Wed, 22 Nov 2000

PRSI to rely on veteran swimmers in 2001 SEA Games

JAKARTA (JP): Despite calls from the National Sports Council (KONI) to field younger athletes in the 2001 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Kuala Lumpur, the Indonesian Swimming Federation (PRSI) plans to send its veteran swimmers.

"PRSI will include veteran swimmers, including Richard Sam Bera and twins Albert and Felix Sutanto, in the SEA Games swimming squad. We still need them," PRSI secretary general Abdurrahim told reporters Tuesday.

The main reason for sending the veterans is because of the limited time to prepare young swimmers for the biennial event. Abdurrahim said financial problems prevented PRSI from staging long-term training programs.

"Training programs of less than one year are inadequate because it requires about one year to achieve maximum results. But the problem is that we don't have enough money for long term training."

Abdurrahim was unsure of the federation's target next year saying that it would be hard to achieve better results than the 1999 Games in Brunei Darussalam. Indonesia earned five golds, three silvers and 10 bronzes last year.

"Considering our current condition, PRSI can't set such high objectives as we did last year. Swimmers from other countries, including Singapore and Thailand, have shown great development," he said.

"One thing for sure, PRSI will carefully evaluate and study the results achieved by our swimmers in the Sydney Olympics," Abdurrahim said.

Indonesian swimmers failed to pass the heats at the Olympics. They even failed to equal their personal best times. The swimmers blamed the new hi-tech sharkskin type swimming suit, saying they did not have enough time to adapt to the new suit.

Abdurrahim also said that PRSI preferred to send athletes for overseas training instead of inviting foreign coaches to groom athletes here.

"It's much better to send the swimmers abroad instead of bringing the coach here as we don't have quality competitions. They will get more experience by training abroad," he said.

"I understand that KONI will provide foreign coaches based on requests made by sports organization. But I don't know the arrangement yet." (nvn)