23 October 2008

From bad boy to prominent national pencak silat hero

Diyan Kristianto could not hide his sheer disappointment when his gold hopes at the first Asian Beach Games crumbled.

"I'm very disappointed, but what can I say?"he said.

Diyan failed to continue his semifinal match against Bruneian Amirul Ahat after he suffered an injury. He was diagnosed with a torn ligament to the back of his left knee.

The debacle dealt a blow for the 23-year-old who was looking to add another laurel to his achievements. He came to the competitions the favorite following his win at last year's Southeast Asian Games and July's National Games.

Both sporting events are testimonies of his achievement attributable to his commitment, for which he has sacrificed his study.

Registered as a student of Sebelas Maret State University in Solo from 2005, Diyan has not found the time to return to study due to training camps and competitions.

"I hardly had time to begin my studies after enrollment because I was a called to a national training camp," said Diyan during the early stages of the pencak silat competition at the Games.
"I haven't had a break yet to go back to campus and attend class."

He said he would have returned to university except he didn't want to sacrifice his sport. "I have to sacrifice one or the other. I have sacrificed everything, including time with my family.

Therefore, in pencak silat I don't want to be half-hearted. I will hurt if I fail at one while I have sacrificed another."

When he was about 12 years old, Diyan said, he was "pushed" to train in pencak silat by his parent because he used to fight with the kids in his neighborhood.

"Finally, I forgot about street fighting and plunged into training, winning several competitions and becoming a national athlete."

He said his achievements at the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games and National Games were financially beneficial for his family. He said he wished his father would quit his job as a truck driver.

"I told him to quit driving, but he objected," said Diyan about his 60-year-old father Yatimin. His mother Jumiati is a housewife.

"I'm Javanese and usually when we earn big money we spend it on something like a plot of land for a rice plantation or a house. Also I put some in bank,"he said.

Diyan received Rp 200 million (US$19,900) in cash bonuses from the government for his gold winning performance in the 45 to 50-kilogram category at the SEA Games. He also pocketed Rp 150 million from the Central Java government for winning gold at the National Games in Samarinda.

Diyan said he had learned a lot from his seniors, such as former pesilats Roni Saefullah and Haris Nugroho, during his time at training camps and competitions while on the national team.

"They are very good to me. They are great athletes who spend their time mostly for their country," Diyan said, adding that he wished the Asian Games held a pencak silat event.

Beach pencak silat is harder than indoor pencak silat because the sand absorbs more energy, he said.

Diyan said he was anxious to prove that he was not only a champion indoors but a champion outdoors.

"It's a challenge for me." At the Games, the cruelty of the battleground sealed Diyan's ill fate.

Sourced from http://old.thejakartapost.com/detailsports.asp?fileid=20081023.U06&irec=5

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