Eddie Nalapraya, the long standing chairman of the Indonesian Pencak Silat Federation (IPSI), -- a type of martial art -- looks to be engulfed with a mixed frame of mind ahead of his plan to relinquish his federation post next year.
He conceded being "frustrated" at the government's absence of support in the campaign to push pencak silat, a traditional martial art originating from Indonesia, to the rest of the world.
On the other hand, he said he was relieved that pencak silat had finally been endorsed for an exhibition at the 2002 Asian Games in Busan, (the city formerly known as Pusan) South Korea, in October.
"I'm frustrated at the way the government has looked on pencak silat so far. I'm tired and desperate," said the 71-year old Eddie.
"That's why I'm going to give way for young guys to take over in 2003," he said.
He claimed that even moral support was severely lacking from the government, not to mention financial backing.
He related an occasion where he led a pair of his athletes to the 2000 Belgian Open, and found that none of the Embassy officials cared enough to come to the matches.
"Singapore arrived with 15 athletes because their sports ministry had given its full financial support. Here, we have to beg around," he said, while extending his hand as a beggar might.
Known also as one of the distinguished figures among the Betawi, the indigenous people of Jakarta, Eddie has been the central personality in the national pencak silat community, having been in the reins at IPSI since 1981.
He is also the incumbent president of the World Pencak Silat Federation.
Now that he is going to end his term, Eddie said that he was delighted that pencak silat would be included as a demonstration sport at the 2002 Asian Games, before a probable official inclusion of it in Qatar, the site of the 2006 Asian Games.
"Although pencak silat has been part of an international event, it is not a formal tournament. I have wanted it to be part of a formal event and that will come to pass in the Asian Games," the retired two-star Army general said.
The Busan Asian Games Organizing Committee has allowed pencak silat athletes to participate but will treat them differently from the official contingents, in that the pencak silat contingent will have to arrange its contest on its own cost during the competition.
The Busan games will run from Sept. 29 to Oct. 14 and pencak silat will take place for two days on Oct. 5 and 6. Athletes from 15 countries, including South Korea, are expected to compete in the exhibition.
Puji Handoko, one of the national coaches, disclosed that eight male and two female athletes from Korea are currently training at the Taman Mini Pencak Silat Training ground in East Jakarta.
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