Fri, 15 Sep 2000

Rexy to carry RI flag in Games' opening ceremony

JAKARTA (JP): The 1996 Olympic Games badminton men's doubles gold medalist Rexy Mainaky will carry the red-and-white banner for the Indonesian contingent in the opening ceremony of the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney on Friday.

Chef de mission, Arie Sudewo, said in a teleconference from Sydney on Thursday that he personally would lead the contingent in the parade. Women's sprinter Irene Truitje Joseph and men's sprinter Subakir will wear Balinese traditional costumes.

Arie said only 52 of the 90 members of the contingent were allowed to join the parade.

"We have decided to pick the most popular athlete with the greatest achievements as the flag bearer. Rexy and his doubles partner Ricky Subagja both meet this criteria, but Rexy was picked as he is more senior and it is his last Olympics."

Rexy and Ricky saved Indonesia's face in the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia, by winning the nation's sole gold medal.

Arie said the athletes had managed to adjust themselves to the chilly weather in Sydney.

"The climate was a setback for us when we arrived here but we have all got accustomed to it. Our athletes can even walk outdoors now with sleeveless shirts."

However, Arie was concerned about the meals being provided as men's light flyweight boxer La Paene Masara had gained one- kilogram during his four-day stay in the Athletes' Village.

Despite wariness about worsened political relations between Indonesia and Australia, Arie said the contingent had received a warm welcome from the host.

"So far they haven't talked about East Timor or other political issues."

He also said that the draw for all of the sports featured in the quadrennial event was held on Wednesday, except for badminton which had been conducted on Sept. 7.

Meanwhile, the deputy secretary general of the Indonesian Amateur Boxing Association (Pertina) Didiet Soedijoto said that La Paene will fight Ivan Calderon from Puerto Rico on Sunday while Hermansen Ballo will meet Jose Navarro of the United States in the flyweight bout on Tuesday.

If La Paene can beat Calderon, he will meet the winner of the bout between Soubam Suresh Singh of India and Kim Ki-suk of South Korea in the second round.

Meanwhile Ballo, if he survives, will face the winner between Halil-Ibrahim Turan of Turkey and Hicham Mesbahi of Morocco.

Didiet said coach Frans Van Bronckhorst was sure that the Indonesian boxers could reach the quarterfinals.

"Frans says he is sure that La Paene can win his early round matches. Singh and Kim are predictable fighters and La Paene will not have any difficulties in dealing with this type of boxer," Didiet quoted Frans as saying from Sydney.

"Frans says he has no idea about Calderon's boxing style. But if Ballo can beat him, he will be able to go to the quarters because the other boxers in the preliminary rounds are nothing special. I think the two boxers could manage to see their way through to the quarters," he said. (ivy)