Tue, 04 Sep 2001

RI eyes six golds from middle-and long-distance

JAKARTA (JP): The Indonesian Amateur Athletics Association (PASI) is relying on its middle- and long-distance runners to meet its target of winning eight gold medals at the Kuala Lumpur 2001 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, which begin on Saturday.

PASI's training director in charge of middle- and long- distance runs and walking events Heri Sutrisno said on Monday that Asian Games 5,000m gold medalist Supriati will carry the heaviest burden among her ranks, with three golds in 1,500m, 5,000m and 10,000m expected from her.

Esther Sumah in the women's 800m run, Ruwiyati in the women's marathon and Osias Kamlase in the men's marathon are the other best bets to win golds in the middle- and long-distance races.

The remaining two gold medals are expected to come from Ni Putu Desi Margawati in the women's pole vault and Yurita Aryani in the women's hammer throw. Although their chance looks slimmer, Nunung Jayadi is a strong contender for the men's pole vault top honor.

There will be 46 gold medals on offer in the track-and-field events at the SEA Games.

Apart from the six runners, Heri also named Darwati for the women's 20-kilometer walk, I Gde Karang Asem in the men's 5,000m and 10,000m and Antonius Fallo in the men's 10,000m run as the country's other gold medal hopefuls.

"This is the first time since 1993 in Singapore that we will field our men runners in the middle-distance events. Akrin will be running in the 800m, Dicky Gunawan in the 800m and 1,500m, and Emilmon in the 1,500m," said Heri.

He predicted that said Supriati would not face any real challenge in Kuala Lumpur.

"Our latest time records show that Supriati will face less challenge than her team mates. She is still the region's best runner in the three middle-distance events," said Heri.

PASI will also field second-string runner Rini Budiarti in the women's 5000m and 10,000m as part of its regeneration program.

PASI has also picked Teresiana as Darwati's pace setter against a strong opposition to be offered by host runners.

"Malaysian Yuan Yu Fang is the one to beat in the women's 20km walk despite having just delivered her baby two months ago. I hope Darwati can offer a real challenge," said Heri.

Meanwhile, PASI secretary general Tigor Tanjung said PASI had yet to announce a cash bonus for its athletes that win a gold medal.

"PASI is still approaching our sponsors to provide the bonus. But we will give them a token of appreciation," he said.

"However, we have agreed to improve the bonus system for athletes who manage to break national records. We will give them a Rp 2 million (US$230) monthly incentive for a year."

"But the incentive will be stopped as soon as the record is shattered by another athlete. This is a kind of punishment and an effort to encourage competition among athletes."

Tigor also said four athletes had visited PASI chairman Muhammad 'Bob' Hasan who is serving his jail term in Nusakambangan Island in Central Java before leaving for Kuala Lumpur.

The athletes, Desi, Yurita, Supriati and Irene Truitje Joseph visited Hasan "to ask for his blessing."

"PASI originally planned to send the whole 40-strong team to Nusakambangan but failed due to security procedures," Tigor said. (nvn)