Indonesia cautiously eyes small medal haul

Indonesia cautiously eyes small medal haul
SMILES: Officials from the Indonesian contingent posing at the SEA Games welcome ceremony outside Kallang Wave Mall yesterday.

Indonesia is the biggest nation in the region, but it is not expecting great things from its 748-strong contingent of 522 athletes and 226 officials at the 28th South-east Asia (SEA) Games in Singapore.

Indonesia finished fourth in the medal standings at the 2013 SEA Games in Myanmar with 65 gold medals, behind Thailand (107), the hosts (86) and Vietnam (73).

"Last time, we got 65. Out of 65, we have already lost 30 gold medals because the (sports) in Myanmar will not be competed here in Singapore," said assistant chef de mission Tubagus Ade Lukman yesterday.

Sports like karate and weightlifting, traditional strong suits of Indonesia, will be missing from this year's Games.

"We are expecting more than 40 golds," said Lukman, at the SEA Games welcome ceremony for Indonesia.

The number is a far cry from the 72-gold medal target set by the Indonesian Olympic Committee (KOI) chairman Rita Subowo, as reported by CNN Indonesia last month.

Which could mean Lukman is playing down expectations.

Lukman admitted there could be some surprises from the Indonesian athletes and added: "They have a big spirit. Hopefully, they can show their performance for the country."

The men's football team were silver medallists in both the 2011 and 2013 SEA Games and they've been drawn in Group A with the likes of hosts Singapore and Myanmar, who beat the Indonesians 4-2 last night.

The badminton team are another force to look out for and Lukman said that former Olympic and world champion, Taufik Hidayat, will have a special interest in their performance.

Ivana Lie, a former badminton world champion, said: "I believe our team are strong. Competitors from other countries are getting better and the difference in standard is small today, but we still have chance."

This article was first published on June 03, 2015.
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