SBY wants a top-three spot for Indonesia at SEA Games
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has asked the National Sports Council (KONI) to lead Indonesia to a top-three finish at this year’s Southeast Asian (SEA) Games XXV, to be held in Laos.
The president pledged full funding to help the athletes prepare, adding he would immediately discuss the issue after the legislative elections.
“Let’s target a top-three finish. That is no illusion; that’s a real target. And you have to have a strong will, undergo training and prepare good logistics to meet the expectations,” the President said Wednesday as he officiated KONI’s two-day national meeting at the Presidential Palace.
The President, chief patron of the Democratic Party, said he did not want to commence the talks before the elections, over concerns the move could be construed as “something else”.
Indonesia used to be the dominant force in the Southeast Asian multisport showcase, until 1997 when it hosted the biennial event.
At the last SEA Games in Thailand in 2007, attended by 10 Southeast Asian countries, Indonesia finished a lowly fourth, trailing winners Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam.
Yudhoyono said the government had continuously increased the budget allocation for sports each year.
With the global economic crisis expected to slash Indonesia’s tax revenues, the President expressed hope the private sector would help develop the country’s sports through corporate social responsibility programs.
“It looks like I have to descend the mountain to call for someone to help,” he said, adding he enjoyed watching sports and wanted the public to enjoy them too. “We want the public to appreciate sports because they provide good life lessons.”
He added sports could teach people about sportsmanship, an attitude that should also be exhibited by candidates in elections.
The President told KONI to build up the country’s sports structure based on long-term visions, and to aim for achievements at the global level.
The KONI meeting, which kicked off Tuesday, was attended by hundreds of participants representing KONI’s 33 provincial branches and 49 sports federations.
The Laos SEA Games, which will take place in December, is among the list of events Indonesia will participate in this year. The others include the 5th Paralympics Games, also in Laos (December), the 3rd Asian Indoor Games in Vietnam (November), the 2nd Islamic Solidarity Games in Iran (October), the 1st Asian Youth Games in Singapore (June) and the 1st Asian Martial Arts Games in Thailand (April).
KONI chairwoman Rita Subowo said the council would receive an allocation of Rp 120 billion from the government for a national training camp.
“We expect to receive the funds soon,” Rita said after the meeting.
“The President is aware that to achieve *in sports*, good funding is needed. After the elections in April, we will be summoned to further discus about funding.”
KONI will participate in 22 sports from 26 on offer in Laos, while for the 1st Asian Martial Arts Games, which will be held in Bangkok from April 25 to May 3, KONI will join fights in five of nine sports, including karate, wushu, taekwondo, judo and pencak silat.
Erwida Maulia & Agnes Winarti , The Jakarta Post , Jakarta | Thu, 03/19/2009 3:03 PM | Sports