JAKARTA (JP): Luhut Panjaitan was unanimously elected as the new chairman of the Indonesian Karate Federation (Forki) after another strong candidate, Efdjuno Tando, pulled out of the race, at the association's national congress in Sunter, North Jakarta, on Sunday.
Luhut, who is also the Minister of Industry and Trade, was not present during the election as he is traveling abroad.
Both Luhut and Tando were named as strong candidates by karate schools and Forki provincial chapters. Most of them demanded that the new chairman come from the karate fraternity.
A team of five -- chaired by Luhut and comprising Forki's North Sumatra chapter chairman Rahmat Syah, West Java chapter technical division head Herman Mochtar, Teddy Pasaribu of the Kyushinryu Karate Indonesia school and Taufan Budi of the Gokasi school -- were given two weeks to select other Forki officials.
Former chairman Wiranto had stated his unwillingness to accept a stint as chairman as he preferred to concentrate on his duties as the chairman of the Indonesian Contract Bridge Association (GABSI).
""I hope that sports officials will be independent of political and economic considerations in performing their duties although I know that they also feel the impact,"" Wiranto told reporters.
""I also hope Luhut will be able to achieve better results in international events. Therefore, I recommend that Forki improve its statutes and work program for 2001 to 2005.""
""As an Inkai school second Dan (grade), I believe Luhut has the commitment to develop karate in this country.""
Tando said after the election that he was not disappointed with the outcome.
""I'm not disappointed because I told the congress that I would run for the chairmanship if I were the sole candidate. But there was Pak Luhut's name also. I also rejected a vote. I don't want the congress to be split into two camps although I know I have more supporters.""
He also said that he would set up a karate foundation in the country to support seniors and national athletes who had retired from the sport.
""We will have an initial capital of Rp 125 million (US$10,420). Hopefully, we can also help Forki in the future by financing some of the athletes."" (nvn)