JAKARTA (JP): Indonesia's Olympic Games team executive training director, Arie Sudewo, said on Thursday that he could accept archer Nurfitriyana Saiman's Lantang reason for resigning from the sport after the 15th National Games (PON) in June and bow out of the Sydney Olympics in September.
""I spoke to Yana (Nurfitriyana's nickname) for an hour and I can accept her reason that she resigned due to her age. She will be 38 next month. She's quite old for an archer and she feels that she can no longer maintainher strength for an international level event,"" said Arie, who is also vicechairman of the National Sports Council (KONI).
""I respect her decision. I won't force her to join the Olympics team because I don't want her to play under duress.
""This is the time, not only for the Indonesian Archery Association (Perpani), but also for other sports organizations to learn not to pin their hopes on one athlete only. They must prepare younger athletes sooner to take over the seniors' duties.""
Nurfitriyana has competed in three Olympics.
Perpani has prepared three women archers -- Purnama Pandiangan, Dahliana and Rusena Gelanteh -- to replace Yana for the training.
Perpani has qualified Hamdiah for the Olympics' individual event, while Yana and Lusiana Elizabeth Sumampouw are still waiting to hear their Olympic fate.
The international archery federation (FITA) will announce on June 26 which countries will take part in the women's team archery event at the Olympics.
Arie said he had asked Perpani to prepare two archers as substitutes for Yana. ""One archer is prepared just in case any of the three archers are injured.""
Speaking about the absence of Perpani chairman, Hayono Isman, Arie said KONI regretted his inactivity but would let Perpani solve its internal problem.
Hayono, former state minister of youth affairs and sports, has been in England for months.
""I have spoken to Perpani deputy secretary-general, Andi Soehendro, and he promised to try to keep in touch with Pak Hayono,"" he said.
""This problem will influence the archers development nationwide.""
Earlier Thursday, the Indonesian Table Tennis Association (PTMSI) official in charge of athletes development, RM Noeryanto, told a media conference that its table tennis players had a chance to qualify for the Olympics.
PTMSI has been grooming Anton Suseno, Deddy Da Costa, Ismu Harianto and David Jacobs on the men's side and Rossy Pratiwi Dipoyanti, Puteri Hasibuanand Fauziah Yulianti on the women's side.
The seven players will warm up in the World Championships team event in Kuala Lumpur from Feb. 19 to Feb. 26 before competing in the Olympics qualifying round in Hong Kong from Feb. 29 to March 5.
Coaches Diana Wuisan and Leman Affandi will accompany the players.
Noeryanto said PTMSI expected its players to improve their world rankingsin the World Championships, in which 150 countries will compete.
The Indonesian men's team ranks 31st in the world while the women's team is in the 33rd position.
""Anton and Rossy are still one of the best in Southeast Asia but they still need to prove themselves, especially against Singaporean players, whooriginate from China,"" Noeryanto said.
""Both players are expected to reach the top seven positions in the qualification,"" he added.
Rossy and Anton qualified for the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia.
""Indonesia dominated the Southeast Asia region in 1993 by sweeping seven gold medals in the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games. But now Chinese-Singaporeanplayers dominate,"" Noeryanto said.
Separately, women sprinter Irene Truitje Joseph aims to improve her personal best in the Australian Open in Sydney from Feb. 24 to Feb. 27.
""The Indonesian Amateur Athletics Federation (IAAF) doesn't give us a target to meet but I personally aim to improve my best time,"" she said on Wednesday.
Irene will compete in the event with John Murray and Subakir. Subakir will replace Yanis Raubaba, who has been absent from training since the Christmas holiday after traveling to Biak, Irian Jaya, to take the civil servant entrance test. (yan)