Indonesian swimmers struggle in deep water at SEA Games

The national anthem Indonesia Raya was once sung up to four times during a day's competition at the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, but, memories of the melody have faded from the swimming pool.
At the last SEA Games in Thailand Indonesian swimmers failed to win a single gold.
"We were the team to be reckoned with," said Lukman Niode, one of Indonesia's past veterans .
Lukman contributed three of the squad's 19 gold medals in 1977, the first time Indonesia participated in the biennial multi-event sporting showcase of Southeast Asia.
In the following 1979 SEA Games, hosted in Jakarta, Indonesian swimmers bagged up to 21 gold medals.
They were still able to collect 15 gold medals two years later in the Philippines.
The swimmers splashed home with only 6 medals in 1985, and back up to 12 in 1987 when Indonesia was the host.
"The country has overlooked the fact that maintaining achievements is harder than gaining them," Lukman, now 46, said. His fellow swimmers included Kristiono Sumono, Gerald P. Item, and Naniek Juliati.
Lukman, in charge of the athlete commission at the National Sports Council (KONI) quit competitions to pursue his education in the US after his last two gold medals in 1987.
Lukman pointed out that a true champion could only be created through talent scouting, coaching and family support.
"If one does not work at it, there will be no champion."
Although numerous levels of swimming competition are available in the country's sports development system throughout the provinces, they are not working effectively mainly due to outdated coaching techniques, he argued.
There are at least 10 competitions annually for juniors with three national-level swimming competitions each year, including the national championships, the Indonesian Open and Indonesian Club Championships (KRAPSI), as well as other lower-tier competitions.
"Some 1,500 young swimmers participate in KRAPSI every year, yet, but only 15 have made it to the current SEA Games squad," Lukman said, adding many coaches are not equipped to handle sports science, or to convert talent into champions.
He also lamented that many coaches or even parents have pushed their children too early into competitions, making them vulnerable to physical injury as well as psychological problems.
Meanwhile, Lukman's successor Richard Sam Bera pointed out the need for swimmers to also have intellectual strengths.
"We can't only rely on *swimming* talent. To a certain point, an athlete needs knowledge and intellectual capacity to be able to compete at international level," he said.
Richard won gold medals at the SEA Games in 1989, 1991, 1995, 1997, 1999, 2001 and then 2005 in the 100-meter men's freestyle and then from 1997 to 2001 in the 50-meter freestyle.
Richard, 37, who started in the swimming pool at the age of six, highlighted that education can be intertwined with sport.
"Both can go along together. I am the living proof of that. I was able to finish my school, which was funded by sports scholarships, and at the same time still achieving well in swimming," said the bronze medalist for the 100-meter men's freestyle at the Beijing Asian Games in 1990.
Richard said besides providing more sport facilities, government should also push forward the three mothers of sports: swimming, athletics, and gymnastics in schools.
The three sports offer the bulk of medals in international multi-event tournaments like SEA Games.
With its present pathetic swimming performance, Indonesia is however resigned to hoping for only two gold medals from the next SEA Games in Laos.

Related Post:


0 komentar:

Post a Comment

Design by Free WordPress Themes | Bloggerized by Lasantha - Premium Blogger Themes | Grocery Coupons