07 January 2009

Indonesia set for Martial Arts Games

Indonesia should have reasonably high medal prospects in the pencak silat (the national sport) events at the inaugural Asian Martial Arts Games in Bangkok in April, but a quota system may prevent its fighters from hauling in the medals.

Indonesian Pencak Silat Federation (IPSI) Chairman Oyong Karmayudha has called the contingent to revel in the other sports offered at the Games, which will take place between April 25 and May 9.

"Of course, we have to set high expectations for pencak silat because it is our sport. However, we also have to stay put on the ground due to the Game's quota system," Oyong said on Tuesday.

The Games will feature nine martial arts, including Japanese jujitsu, kurash (Turkish wrestling), muay (Thai boxing), judo, karate, wushu, tae kwon do, kick-boxing, and pencak silat (traditional Indonesian martial arts).

Djoko Pramono, an official of the National Sports Council (KONI) in charge of Olympic Solidarity, said that to avoid possible domination of athletes competing in sports from their country of origin, the Games organisers would apply quota system on a number of the events.

For example, in judo, a participating country is allowed only to join four of seven events, in each the men's and women's categories.

In karate, a competitor can participate in a maximum of four out of seven events in the men's division and three of the five women's events.

The tae kwon do competition will apply a four-from-eight limitation and for pencak silat the maximum allowance will be three-from-six.

Citing the classic problem of funding, Djoko said that Indonesia will not take part in all nine sports.

"We will only send athletes for judo, karate, wushu, tae kwon do and pencak silat. We are not familiar with the rest," he said.

"Each sports federation should submit their list of athletes on Jan. 15," he said.

The quota system is expected to reduce Indonesia's hopes for a medal haul in pencak silat and Oyong said that the team would make a strict policy on the selection of athletes in a bid to enhance the medal prospects.

"During the upcoming national training camp, we will start scrutinizing the athletes, especially in the events that we are going to take part," he said, adding that the team would prioritize those pesilat (fighters) under 25-year-old.

Sourced from http://old.thejakartapost.com/detailsports.asp?fileid=20090107.V02&irec=1

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