SURABAYA (JP): After struggling for several years, traditional martial arts pencak silat finally has a great chance to be featured as an exhibition event at the 2002 Asian Games in Pusan, South Korea.
Sakchye Tapsuwan, a sports commission official of the Olympic Committee of Asia (OCA), said the sport would likely be officially featured at the 2006 Asiad.
Tapsuwan told reporters Thursday after attending pencak silat finals at the 15th National Games (PON) at Pantjasila sports hall here the sport has received support from other Asian countries including Malaysia, South Korea, China and India.
"I am assigned here by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). In my opinion, pencak silat is eligible to be exhibited and featured in Asian Games. This sport has received mounting support from Asian countries representatives, who are also here for observation," he said.
"We also hope to promote cultural sports so they can be as popular as other martial arts like karate of Japan."
The decision to feature pencak silat will be made at an OCA meeting in Bangladesh but he failed to mention the date.
"We have to discuss the possibility of exhibiting the sport in the 2002 Asiad. If the exhibition is successful, pencak silat might be officially included in the 2006 Asian Games," said Tapsuwan, who is also vice president of the Thailand National Olympic Committee.
Tapsuwan was accompanied by secretary general of the National Sports Council (KONI) Rudolf S. Warouw and chairman of the Indonesian Pencak Silat Federation (IPSI) Eddie M. Nalapraya.
Deputy President of the Persekutuan Silat Kebangsaan Malaysia (Malaysian Silat Association) Dato Dr. Ibrahim Saad said his country has cooperated with other Southeast Asian countries to include the sport in Asiad.
"In Kuala Lumpur, pencak silat has been featured in our National Games (Sukma). We also exhibited the sport during the 1998 Commonwealth Games," he said.
Ibrahim said that should Malaysia be appointed as host of the 2006 Asiad, he pledged to include pencak silat in the quadrennial event.
"If we know for sure who will host the 2006 Asiad, we will try to feature this sport," said Saad, who is also the Deputy President at the International Pencak Silat Federation (Persilat) which is chaired by Eddie.
For the first time in pencak silat competition, there are twin champions in the men's B class. Tri Widodo of Jakarta was originally announced as the winner against Lalu Budi Ariawan of West Nusa Tenggara. But Lalu's protest was accepted by the referees who later presented golds to both fighters. There was no silver medalists but Suwandi of Lampung and Solihin of West Java also shared bronzes.
The 1999 SEA Games gold medalist Permata Kumalasari of Southeast Sulawesi unexpectedly bowed out to Nelyana Dumallang of North Sulawesi in the women's A (45-50kgs) class. The bronze medals were shared by Endah Indah Riswari of Jakarta and Ni Ketut Susanti of West Java.
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