Track and field heartache for RI as Triyaningsih pipped in 5000m
The Jakarta Post
Protests over alleged competition violations marred Tuesday's proceedings at the SEA Games, as Indonesian athletes continued to falter in their hunt for gold medals in the track and field event at Wunna Theikdi Stadium, Naypyitaw.
Indonesian officials said their athlete Triyaningsih had been robbed of gold in the women's 5000-meter race.
Triyaningsih, who due to a hectic schedule had skipped the marathon despite being defending champion, had to settle for silver after she was outpaced on the last lap by Phyu War Thet.
The Indonesian runner looked dejected at the finish line, but Indonesia's team manager Paulus said he was convinced War Thet had been running outside the track and should have been disqualified.
Paulus asked referees to analyze the video of the race again, but they insisted evidence had to be provided formally.
'You could see it on the giant screen on two occasions. You must look at the video again,' he said to one of the track referees, Soe Han.
A Myanmar official tried to calm Paulus and asked him to let it slide.
'Don't do that my friend,' he replied.
Despite strong protests from the Indonesian side, Phyu War Thet was declared the winner with a time of 16:06.01, while Triyaningsih clocked 16:24.36 followed by another Myanmar runner Khin Mar Sal in 17:37.57.
The incident was the latest controversy involving the Indonesian contingent at the 27th SEA Games.
In the karate arena, the Indonesian and Vietnamese teams contested judges' decisions to award victories to their respective opponents and alleged unfair refereeing.
In the pencak silat competition, Awaluddin had to withdraw from the 45-50 kilogram event due to an injury, with his opponent Myanmar's Zay Yar allegedly kicking him in the groin.
Allegations of unsportsmanlike behavior aside, Indonesia's strategy over Triyaningsih did not work. She was exempted from defending her marathon title to focus on the 5,000m and 10,000m races, held only a day after the marathon.
In Monday's race, stand-in Meri Meriana Paijo could only finish in fifth place, while in the men's marathon, Yahuza, who triumphed in 2011, lost his title.
The failure prompted a bout of soul-searching from Indonesian officials on what had gone wrong.
'To compete in the marathon, an athlete must be prepared mentally. They also need to adjust,' Tigor Tanjung, the secretary-general of the Indonesian Athletics Association (PASI) said as quoted by tribunenews.com.
He also pointed to the importance of regeneration. 'We have a lot of young athletes at the moment, but they can not just take up the marathon straightaway,' he said.
In the men's 5,000m race, Ridwan was only able to finish third after clocking a time of 14:27.69. He was outpaced by Vietnam's Van Lai Nguyen, who finished with a time of 14:19.35 followed by Thailand's Boonthung Srisung with 14:27.69.
In the men's 100m dash and 400m hurdles, Indonesian runners again fell short.
Adrian finished behind Eric Shauwn Cray of the Philippines in the men's 400-meter hurdles and Iswandi, in the men's 100m, finished behind Jirapong Meenapra of Thailand.
Indonesia then pinned its medal hopes on the men's decathlon after Zakaria Malik surpassed his opponent in the shot put. His throw of 12.15m was ahead of Jesson Ramil Cid of the Philippines with 11.54m and Htun Latt of Myanmar with 11.46m.
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