Sat, 18 Mar 2000

Sports council awaits Rp 4.2b from government

JAKARTA (JP): The National Sports Council (KONI) has not received the expected Rp 4.2 billion (US$567,000) from the government to fund the training program for the 2000 Olympics Games, Olympics training director Arie Sudewo said on Friday.

Arie said he had met with officials from the Ministry of Finance to ask for the immediate disbursement of the money, adding that KONI would run out of money to fund the training in April.

"I approached the director general of the budget at the ministry and I explained our problems and hopes. We expect them to be able to disburse the funds immediately to enable us to continue with the training," said Arie, who is also a vice chairman of KONI.

"We estimate we will be out of money by April. Hopefully, the government will distribute the money before then," he added.

He said KONI currently was funding the Olympic training with the Rp 2 billion donated by the Gelora Senayan Management Board (BPGS) and the Rp 500 million surplus from the budget for the 1999 Southeast Asian Games.

KONI requires Rp 6.9 billion to finance the preparation and participation of the Indonesian contingent in the quadrennial event, which will be held in Sydney from Sept. 15 to Oct. 1. KONI has also received Rp 1 billion from McDonald's Indonesia to fund the training.

Sports Science

Arie said he would introduce physical and aptitude tests to national athletes to measure their physical health and competence.

"I have decided to introduce sports science in the Olympic training program. I don't want anybody to see the use of sports science in the training as only a 'slogan'. I know we will face setbacks at first, but we have to brace ourselves and take the initiative," he said.

Arie said currently many athletes were not familiar with the method. He recalled that he was obliged to undergo annual medical checkups during his time in the Army, which made him accustomed to seeing the doctor.

"I want the athletes to accustom themselves to medical checkups. That's for their own good, not mine," said the 60-year- old retired lieutenant general.

He also reiterated calls to groom young athletes and allow them to compete in national and international tournaments, which would provide Indonesia with a reserve of athletes.

"I see every sports organization has problems finding athletes to replace the top ones. I prefer juniors be given the chance to compete in international sports events," he said.

He pointed out the Badminton Association of Indonesian (PBSI), saying it should modify its training methods if it wanted to preserve its tradition of winning medals in the Olympic Games.

"I think PBSI is late in giving its young shuttlers an opportunity to replace the veteran players. I don't know the real problem, but I will discuss the results of the national shuttlers in the Korea Open, Taiwan Open and All England," he said.

"Take China as an example. It never has a shortage of young shuttlers. There are always new faces in every tournament and these shuttlers achieve well. For some time, Europe has not had any outstanding achievements, but its shuttlers are now rising to the top," he said. (ivy)