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Jakarta Post

Asian Games: Swimming finals see prolonged Indonesia’s medal drought

  • Gemma Holliani Cahya

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Tue, August 21, 2018   /   04:08 pm
Asian Games: Swimming finals see prolonged Indonesia’s medal drought Mascot Asian Games Swimming (Courtesy of/Inasgoc)

The Indonesia swimming team marked 28 years of bad luck in the Asian Games during Monday’s final at the Gelora Bung Karno Aquatic Stadium in Senayan, Central Jakarta, when swimmers Aflah Fadlan Prawira, I Gede Siman Sudartawa and Triadi Fauzi Sidiq failed to win any medals for the country.

Japan and China dominated the swimming finals, respectively taking four and three golds.

Fadlan had clocked in at 8 minutes and 3.87 seconds in the morning heat, which was initially the fastest time in the men’s 800-meter freestyle. But he did not retain the position for long with China, Japan and Vietnam swimmers recording faster times in the evening heat, pushing Fadlan down to sixth place.

The winner of the 800-meter freestyle, the longest distance in the swimming competition, was determined by the best time of every heat.

The 2018 Asian Games was the first time the men’s 800-meter freestyle category has been competed in 67 years, its last appearance being the 1951 Asian Games.

At the men’s 200-meter freestyle final on Sunday, China’s golden boy, Sun Yang, touched the wall at 7:48.36 to break the Asiad record and once again take the gold.

Meanwhile, Indonesia seeded swimmer I Gede Siman Sudartawa faced the bitter reality of finishing at fifth in the men’s 50-meter backstroke final at 25.29 seconds.

Siman performed poorly at the final compared to his time of 25.01 seconds in the morning heat, swimming faster than China’s Xu Jiayu, who touched the wall 11 milliseconds later.

China world champion Xu Jiayu bagged the gold in the 50-meter backstroke, touching the wall at 24.75 seconds.

Even President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s, who had come to the Aquatic Stadium especially to watch the swimming finals, could not push Siman to the top of his game.

Siman swallowed another bitter pill following Indonesia’s losses at Monday finals for the men’s 50-meter backstroke, ending the nation’s dream to bring home a swimming medal at this year’s Asiad.

Albert C. Sutanto, Siman’s coach, said the day’s results were disappointing, as Siman had worked hard to prepare himself both physically and mentally for the final.

“Personally, I’m really disappointed. I’m really down right now, because we always relied on Siman in the 50-meter backstroke,” he said.

Sutanto believed that Siman could not shake the high expectations for him to win the gold, and that his emotions had blocked him from victory.

The Balinese swimmer stole the heart of the nation when he brought home four golds in the 2011 Jakarta and Palembang SEA Games, including the 50-meter backstroke.

“In our evaluation, he made 37 strokes in today’s morning heat, but this evening, he made 40 strokes. That’s three additional strokes, and that was the fatal mistake,” said Sutanto.

Meanwhile, in the men’s 200-meter individual medley final, Triady added to the litany of disappointments and prolonged the nation’s drought in swimming medals since the 1992 Asiad.

In a dramatic ending to the men’s 200-meter individual medley, 19-year-old Wang Hsinghao from China beat 24-year-old Hagino Kosuke, Japan’s four-time Olympic medalist, clocking in 23 milliseconds faster than Hagino at 1:56.52.

Ikee Rikako, Japan’s most improved swimmer who competed in both the women’s 50-meter butterfly and women’s 100-meter freestyle, showed outstanding performance in bagging the gold in both events at 25.55 seconds and 53.37 seconds, respectively.

The 18-year-old also broke the women’s 50-meter butterfly record that China’s Lu Ying set at the 2014 Asiad, as well as the women’s 100-meter freestyle record set by China’s Tang Yi in 2010. (dic)