Indonesia is looking to take the lion's share of gold medals in the traditional martial art of pencak silat at the inaugural Asian Beach Games on the resort island of Bali next month.
Oyong Karmayuda, a director at the Indonesian Pencak Silat Association (IPSI), on Tuesday said the Indonesian Sports Council was expecting Indonesian pesilat (pencak silat athletes) to win four out of eight gold medals up for grabs.
"The target is quite realistic. However, we haven't yet decided which events we have a bigger chance (of winning medals in)," Oyong said.
Indonesia will field a 10-strong pencak silat squad. Dian Kristanto will compete in the men's 45-50-kilogram category, Pranoto in the men's 80-85 kg, Ria Puspitasari in the women's 45-50 kg, Komang Suparniti in the women's 55-60 kg, I Gusti Ngurah Arya in the men's artistic form singles, Putu Sepianawati in the women's artistic form singles, Muhammad Yusuf and Hamdani in the men's artistic form doubles, and Ayu and Dwi in the women's artistic form doubles.
Team manager Bambang Ruseffendi said most squad members were also champions at the Southeast Asian Games in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand, last year, and at the 2008 National Games.
"All our pesilat arrived in Bali last month to undergo intensive training," Bambang said.
At least seven countries, including archrivals Malaysia and Vietnam, have confirmed their participation in the pencak silat event.
Oyong admitted competition would be tougher than usual.
"Fighting on beach sand is a lot harder and more exhausting than on a mat. The hot sand can quickly drain your energy. It is really demanding in terms of endurance," he said.
Each pesilat would also need to worry about getting sand in their eyes, Oyong said, but added providing sunglasses to competitors would increase the risk of more serious injury if a misplaced strike were to hit the sunglasses.
"We won't use sunglasses. Instead, we will use a certain technique to cover our eyes," Oyong said.
He added his team was expecting a strong challenge from the other competitors.
"Pesilat from Malaysia, Vietnam and Singapore have been in Bali longer to practice."
Written by NIKEN PRATHIVI
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