President hopes athletes can win gold
Paper Edition | Page: 20
The Indonesian team is bound for the London Olympics with the modest expectation that they can keep up the tradition of winning at least one gold medal, as they have done on every occasion since 1992.
“We have won a gold, silver, and bronze medal in every Olympics. Hopefully, the athletes can keep up the record,” President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said, receiving athletes at the State Palace on Monday, as reported by Antara.
The president warned against being too pre-occupied with the one-gold target and urged them to be focused on the game to perform their best.
He cautioned against being overawed by higher rated opponents.
“Human beings have both merits and defects,” he said.
The Indonesia Olympic Committee is sending 21 athletes and 20 officials to compete in seven events, a few below Beijing 2008. Then, the 24-athlete squad brought home one gold, silver and three bronze medals, with the most glittering medal again won in badminton.
The 2012 team comprises nine athletes in badminton, six in weightlifting, two in track and field and one each in swimming, archery, fencing and shooting.
To boost their fighting spirits, the government has promised a Rp 1 billion (US$106,000) cash bonus to gold medalists, Rp 400 million for silver and Rp 200 million for bronze.
The bonuses are a form of appreciation to athletes who embellish Indonesia’s name in international competition.
The Indonesian Swimming Association (PRSI) appealed to people to be realistic about their hopes of winning a medal in the pool.
“In terms of our medal chances in the pool, we hope people will be realistic. The Olympics is a world-class competition while our swimmers can only match up only their Asian peers,” PRSI deputy secretary general Abdurrachim said recently.
Indonesia’s sole representative in the swimming is I Gede Siman Sudartawa, who will compete in the 100-meter backstroke.
“We are not pessimistic but we don’t want to go beyond reason in setting our target. The fact that swimming races are measured by time gives us logical assessment on our athlete’s medal chances,” he said.
Indonesia’s gold hopes will again be pinned on the shuttlers, although their performance in the tournaments leading up to the Olympics have not been as impressive nor as convincing as their performances four years ago.
Markis Kido and Hendra Setiawan, the pair who won the only gold for Indonesia, have been denied the opportunity to defend their medal after failing to improve in the Badminton World Federation rankings.