Sat, 27 Mar 1999

Scholarships for Asian Games hopefuls

JAKARTA (JP): The National Sports Council (KONI) will hand over scholarships to 800 athletes and 200 coaches to groom them for the 2006 Asian Games.

KONI's outgoing vice chairman, Arie Sudewo, told reporters on Friday after a meeting to discuss the matter that the scholarships were provided by the office of the coordinating minister for people's welfare and poverty eradication.

"We are prioritizing for athletes and coaches who will join our Golden Garuda project," he said.

Minister Haryono Suyono approved the proposal to provide the scholarships following Indonesia's achievement of six gold, 10 silver and 11 bronze medals at the 13th Asian Games in Bangkok last year.

Haryono promised to financially help KONI and the office of the state minister of youth affairs and sports to groom young talents by providing the scholarships.

Golden Garuda is an ambitious project, designed by KONI, to raise Indonesia to sixth position in the Asian Games rankings. The program also includes KONI's campaign to host the 2006 games, which has sparked controversy among sports organizations.

The scholarship recipients, who will receive Rp 60,000 (US$6.8) every month, are divided into two categories: 500 athletes and coaches who will get the money for 10 years starting from July and 500 regular recipients starting from November.

The Golden Garuda recipients are from 19 sports. They are archery, badminton, beach volleyball, boxing, cycling, fencing, gymnastics, judo, karate, pencak silat, rowing, sepak takraw, shooting, swimming, taekwondo, tennis, track and field, weightlifting and windsurfing.

Last year, athletes received only Rp 35,000 while coaches earned Rp 40,000 per month.

Arie said KONI would observe the achievements of athletes and coaches for one year.

"If they can use the scholarships well, we'll extend the program, but if they fail we'll give it to other athletes," he said.

Arie explained that recipients did not have to attend a formal education program but they could take short courses such as computer operating, English and other courses. (yan)