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Images: The dark ages of Indonesian sport

Seto Wardhana

The Jakarta Post

Kuala Lumpur  /  Wed, August 30, 2017  /  09:17 am
  • Up to speed: Indonesian athlete Hendro Yap competes in the men’s 20-kilometer race walk during the 29th SEA Games in Bukit Jalil, Malaysia. As of Monday, Indonesia’s track and field team had secured five gold medals, seven silvers and three bronze medals.

    Up to speed: Indonesian athlete Hendro Yap competes in the men’s 20-kilometer race walk during the 29th SEA Games in Bukit Jalil, Malaysia. As of Monday, Indonesia’s track and field team had secured five gold medals, seven silvers and three bronze medals. OF JP/Seto Wardhana

    Up to speed: Indonesian athlete Hendro Yap competes in the men’s 20-kilometer race walk during the 29th SEA Games in Bukit Jalil, Malaysia. As of Monday, Indonesia’s track and field team had secured five gold medals, seven silvers and three bronze medals.

  • Hold your breath: Synchronized swimmers compete during the 29th SEA Games women's free routine synchronized swimming competition at MITEC, Kuala Lumpur. As of Monday, Indonesia’s aquatics squad had won four gold medals, 12 silvers and 14 bronze medals.

    Hold your breath: Synchronized swimmers compete during the 29th SEA Games women's free routine synchronized swimming competition at MITEC, Kuala Lumpur. As of Monday, Indonesia’s aquatics squad had won four gold medals, 12 silvers and 14 bronze medals. OF JP/Seto Wardhana

    Hold your breath: Synchronized swimmers compete during the 29th SEA Games women's free routine synchronized swimming competition at MITEC, Kuala Lumpur. As of Monday, Indonesia’s aquatics squad had won four gold medals, 12 silvers and 14 bronze medals.

  • Going for gold: Indonesia’s Alfian Fajar and Muhammad Rian Ardianto compete against the Malaysian team during the 29th SEA Games Badminton mixed doubles tournament at the Axiata Center in Kuala Lumpur. The badminton squad had bagged one gold medal for Indonesia as of Monday.

    Going for gold: Indonesia’s Alfian Fajar and Muhammad Rian Ardianto compete against the Malaysian team during the 29th SEA Games Badminton mixed doubles tournament at the Axiata Center in Kuala Lumpur. The badminton squad had bagged one gold medal for Indonesia as of Monday. OF JP/Seto Wardhana

    Going for gold: Indonesia’s Alfian Fajar and Muhammad Rian Ardianto compete against the Malaysian team during the 29th SEA Games Badminton mixed doubles tournament at the Axiata Center in Kuala Lumpur. The badminton squad had bagged one gold medal for Indonesia as of Monday.

  • Final attempt: Lifter Eko Yuli competes in the 2017 SEA Games weightlifting men’s 62-kilogram finals at the Malaysian International trade and Exhibition Center (MITEC) in Kuala Lumpur on Monday.

    Final attempt: Lifter Eko Yuli competes in the 2017 SEA Games weightlifting men’s 62-kilogram finals at the Malaysian International trade and Exhibition Center (MITEC) in Kuala Lumpur on Monday. OF JP/Seto Wardhana

    Final attempt: Lifter Eko Yuli competes in the 2017 SEA Games weightlifting men’s 62-kilogram finals at the Malaysian International trade and Exhibition Center (MITEC) in Kuala Lumpur on Monday.

  • Strike a pose: Gymnast Nabila Evandestiera performs during the 29th SEA Games rhythmic gymnastics women's all-around finals. Indonesia’s gymnastic team had won one gold medal, two silvers and six bronze medals as of Monday.

    Strike a pose: Gymnast Nabila Evandestiera performs during the 29th SEA Games rhythmic gymnastics women's all-around finals. Indonesia’s gymnastic team had won one gold medal, two silvers and six bronze medals as of Monday. OF JP/Seto Wardhana

    Strike a pose: Gymnast Nabila Evandestiera performs during the 29th SEA Games rhythmic gymnastics women's all-around finals. Indonesia’s gymnastic team had won one gold medal, two silvers and six bronze medals as of Monday.

  • Into the light: The shadow of Ika Oktavianti, an Indonesian indoor hockey player, can be seen as she and her teammates compete against Thailand during the 29th SEA Games women's indoor hockey match at MITEC, Kuala Lumpur. Indonesia's indoor hockey players had secured two silver medals as of Monday.

    Into the light: The shadow of Ika Oktavianti, an Indonesian indoor hockey player, can be seen as she and her teammates compete against Thailand during the 29th SEA Games women's indoor hockey match at MITEC, Kuala Lumpur. Indonesia's indoor hockey players had secured two silver medals as of Monday. OF JP/Seto Wardhana

    Into the light: The shadow of Ika Oktavianti, an Indonesian indoor hockey player, can be seen as she and her teammates compete against Thailand during the 29th SEA Games women's indoor hockey match at MITEC, Kuala Lumpur. Indonesia's indoor hockey players had secured two silver medals as of Monday.

OF

With the 29th SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur nearly wrapped up, Indonesia had only snatched 38 gold, 62 silver and 84 bronze medals as of Tuesday afternoon. The Red-and-White squad’s gold medal tally is lower than the targeted 55 gold medals and even below the achievement of the 2015 SEA Games, when Indonesia bagged 47 golds.

The medal tally sees Indonesia rank fifth on the medal table, below Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia. Looking back at history, Indonesia topped the medal tally 10 times since its first participation in 1977 during the 9th SEA Games. The country last sat at the top position in 2011, when we hosted the Games.

As the 29th SEA Games draw to a close, there is growing concern about athlete regeneration. Indonesia has been relying mostly on the same athletes during the biennial event, placing high expectations on the same names, such as swimmer Indra Gunawan, runner Triyaningsih, lifter Eko Yuli Irawan and archer Ika Yuli.

We can only assume that our poor regeneration is caused by a lack of attention on future athletes. Leaders may be busy arguing instead of providing much-needed resources for young athletes, or maybe we are simply failing to make sports attractive for the youth. Whatever the reasons, we are no longer “the tiger” in this region.

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