Thu, 03 Aug 2000

Wynne Prakusya earns Olympics wild card

JAKARTA (JP): Young women's tennis player Wynne Prakusya managed to reach her goal of competing in the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney after the International Olympics Committee (IOC) awarded her a wild card earlier this month.

In a letter to National Sports Council (KONI) chairman Wismoyo Arismunandar dated July 31, the IOC said the invitational position was allocated to Wynne after careful consideration involving the Asian National Olympic Committee (ANOC) and the International Tennis Federation (ITF).

Spokesman for the Indonesian Tennis Association (Pelti) Benny Mailili said on Wednesday that Wynne had just improved her world ranking to the 120s after winning the US$75,000 Challenger tournament in Salt Lake City, Utah, on Sunday.

"I think the IOC made its decision after Wynne won the tournament," he said.

Benny also said that the IOC had set its eyes on Wynne as she had received an Olympic Solidarity scholarship.

"She received the scholarship, so IOC must have observed her performances," he said.

Pelti and KONI had earlier asked for another wild card for veteran Yayuk Basuki. Yayuk was expected to perform in the doubles, partnering Wynne at the Sept. 15 through Oct. 1 quadrennial event.

"Yayuk failed to receive the wild card as her world ranking in both singles and doubles event did not meet the qualification," Benny explained.

A wild card is granted to any players who are in the world top 120 before August.

Many of Wynne's seniors have made their way to the event over the years, although none have yielded any medals.

Men's player Suharyadi represented Indonesia in the 1982 Games in Los Angeles, California, where the sport was first exhibited in the quadrennial event.

In the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, Suharyadi managed to qualify for the Olympics along with partner Wailan Walalangi. Yayuk also made her debut in the singles event the same year but the three players were crushed in early rounds.

In the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, Yayuk managed to reach the quarterfinals but was stopped by young American hopeful Jennifer Capriati, who later earned her first gold medal. Yayuk's achievement was considered the best Indonesia could do during its participation in the event.

Teammate Suzanna Anggarkusumah Wibowo and Benny Wijaya and Bonit Wiryawan on the men's side also earned the same opportunity to compete for Indonesia.

Four years later, only Yayuk and Romana Tedjakusuma qualified for Atlanta. Yayuk bowed out in the first round of the singles event and also the doubles, where she teamed up with Romana. (ivy)