Mon, 26 Jun 2000

Yanes doesn't mix sport and politics

SURABAYA (JP): Short-distance runner Yanes Raubaba from Irian Jaya doesn't believe in mixing sports and politics, despite calls for independence from his fellow Irianese.

"I don't want to combine sport and political affairs. Sport is sport, politics is politics. But I know what is happening in Papua, because I learn about it on television and in newspapers," he said on Saturday after running in the preliminaries of the 100m sprint at Delta Stadium at Sidoarjo, some 20 kilometers south of here.

Yanes, who is attending the long-term training camp organized by the Indonesian Track and Field Association (PASI), clocked 10.61 seconds in the preliminaries. He is expected to win the gold for Irian, or Papua, as the Irianese here insist the province is called.

Yanes is being groomed for the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney in the 4x100m relay event, together with fellow Irianese John Murray, Subakir of West Java and Mahmud Hamzah of North Sulawesi. They clocked 39.95 at the 1999 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Brunei Darussalam and passed the Olympics' 'B' time limit of 40.00.

Yanes said he was surprised when he learned he had qualified for the Olympics.

"Competing in the Olympics has never been my ambition. God must have given me this chance," he said.

Yanes was born in Biak Numfor, Irian Jaya, on April 24, 1974, as the fourth child of five siblings. He is married to Fransiska Benno from Jayapura and has one daughter, Florence, who is eight- months old.

Apart from training, Yanes said he had tried to apply for a job with the Biak authorities in February. But his application was turned down.

"I attended a test at the Biak authorities office but I never got a result. Last time I heard the authority was being protested, but I don't know the reason," he said.

However, he has managed to build a house for his family in Biak.

"I save all my money I get from bonuses and my salary. I get Rp 500,000 a month from the training center, and I send no less than Rp 400,000 of this to my wife. I have only got about Rp 50,000 here to buy snacks and drinks. I don't spend much money here because I don't have many needs," he said.

He said he had not thought of moving from Irian to Jakarta, and hence representing Jakarta in national events like the Games.

"I love Papua. If the spectators cheer us as Papuans when we run, we become so excited," he said.(ivy)