The Jakarta Post
Indonesia is relying on senior lifter Eko Yuli Irawan, a three-time Olympic medalist, as a medal hope in the upcoming 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games. However, he was still a few kilograms too heavy to compete in the men’s 61-kg category on Monday.
“I’m currently at about 65 kg. I will compete in the 61 kg, so I need to lose some weight,” Eko said on the sidelines of his training session in Manila on Wednesday.
The 2016 Rio Olympics silver medalist said he needed to cut down his food intake and, if needed, go to a sauna to reach the ideal weight.
“I will do fasting as the last resort if I haven’t reach the weight in the moments before the competition, but at the moment, I still stick to a proper diet,” said the 30-year-old, who twice won Olympic bronzes, one in 2012 and the second in 2008.
Eko aims to win a gold in the Philippines Games by lifting a total of 310 kg. His latest personal best is 306 kg, which he did during the Weightlifting World Championships in Thailand in September. In previous Games, Eko won two gold medals, one in 2009 and another in 2011.
Indonesia has deployed 10 lifters to compete in the Games, aiming to collect the most gold medals in weightlifting.
Besides Eko, Indonesia is also putting medal hopes on Rahmat Erwin Abdullah, 19, who competes in the men’s 73 kg, and Windy Cantika Aisah, 17, who is in the women’s 49 kg.
Rahmat is the holder of the junior Asian record with a total lift of 326 kg, which he made in Pyongyang, North Korea in October. Meanwhile, Windy broke three junior world records in 2019 with the latest at 179 kg, which she produced during the IWF Junior World Championships in Fiji in June.
Separately, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo said he expected Team Indonesia to come home at least as a runner-up from the Philippines.
"I want us to emerge as the runner-up at the Philippines 30th SEA Games," said Jokowi as he sent off the Indonesian contingent from the Presidential Palace in Bogor, West Java on Wednesday.
In the previous Games in Kuala Lumpur, Indonesia displayed the worst performance in its SEA Games history by finishing fifth with 38 gold medals.
The President promised to award the winning athletes with bonus money, but did not cite a detailed figure.
Indonesia has deployed a total of 841 athletes to compete in 52 of the 56 sports being played in the Philippines.