Monday, February 7, 2011

Prima takes charge

While organizers scramble to meet deadlines for the construction of facilities for the Southeast Asian Games, athletes are also feeling the pressure as they train for the region’s biggest multisport tournament.

Several national sports federations have submitted their training schedules to the Golden Indonesia Program (Prima) ahead of the Games in November, in the hope these will be approved.

Prima is the government task force in charge of screening athletes for elite competition.

As part of their buildup to the SEA Games from Nov. 11-20, federations are looking to give their athletes an edge by sending them to overseas tournaments.

Prima evaluates all the proposals before the federations are granted training budgets.

Andri Paranoan, an official of Prima’s coaching and competitions department, said athletes needed to pass the general preparation phase before they could be sent overseas.

He said this general phase included a mandatory character-building program at the Indonesian Special Forces Training Center in Bandung.

“About 80 percent of the federations have already handed us their proposals,” he added.

The national federations for cycling, swimming and pencak silat — a martial art — have included overseas training sessions in their proposals.

Two athletes are already training overseas. BMX rider Risa Suseanty is in the United States and fellow BMX rider Elga Kharisma Novanda is training in Switzerland at the invitation of the International Cycling Union.

Top cyclists Tonton Susanto and Ryan Ariehaan Hilmant want to compete in the Tour de Taiwan from March 21-27.

Both secured podium finishes at the 2007 SEA Games in Thailand, where Ryan took the gold in the men’s individual road race and Tonton brought home silver in the men’s individual time trial.

“We have proposed to Prima to start sending our athletes to competitions abroad next month. Some athletes are already training in other countries, and they will be continuously supervised,” said Wahyudi Hidayat, the national cycling team’s head coach.

“We have been told by Prima that athletes in every discipline deserve to participate in at least two competitions,” he added.

The Indonesian Pencak Silat Federation (IPSI) will send 37 athletes, to the Asian Championships in Singapore in March and a top-level tournament in Belgium.

“These two events are important,” said Muchdi Purwopranjono, chief of the federation. “We will see how far our athletes have improved physically, mentally and in terms of their technical skills.”

The Indonesian Swimming Association (PRSI) will send four swimmers to train in Australia’s Gold Coast this week, under coach Gavin Urquhart.

“I hope our swimmers do not waste this opportunity because this type of foreign training will boost our medal hopes,” said Suroyo, the PRSI’s deputy head for development. -Jakarta Globe

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