Hopes for pencak silat, a martial art originating here, to be among sports contested at the 2006 Asian Games in Qatar were dashed, after the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) decided against its inclusion.
The news was announced by Djohar Arifin, the secretary-general of the National Sports Council (KONI), here on Wednesday.
Djohar said at a recent OCA board meeting in Doha that pencak silat did not meet the council's criteria for inclusion at the games.
While, according to the OCA, the sport must be recognized by four of five Asian regions in Asia: East Asia, West Asia, Central Asia, Southeast Asia and South Asia.
Currently, Djohar asserted, pencak silat is popular only in Southeast Asia and West Asia.
Pencak silat associations only exist in 15 countries, one less than the minimum number set by the OCA.
"Besides, the sport is not represented by an Asian body. The only (continental) existing body is merged with another region under the name of the Asia-Pacific federation," Djohar said.
The decision dampens recent optimism that followed a demonstration of pencak silat at the 2002 Asian Games in Busan, South Korea.
"We had already discussed the issue informally with the OCA. They said they would accept the sport," Djohar said.
He added that Indonesian team's leader Eddie M. Nalapraya -- who is also president of the International Pencak Silat Federation (Persilat) -- had already discussed possible venues, participants and the schedule of events with the OCA.
"We can only hope that pencak silat will be competed at the next Asian Games in Guangzhou, China in 2010," Djohar said.
The choice of Guangzhou as the next host, over Malaysian capital city Kuala Lumpur, was also taken during the forum.
The 2006 Asian Games will include 40 sports and comprise 411 events. Six of the sports will debut at the quadrennial sporting event: bodybuilding, baseball, softball, rugby, rowing and canoeing.
Written by EVA C. KOMANDJAJA
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