Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Asian Games, the biggest Asian multi-event in sports, is only eight months away, and as the host, Indonesia has to prepare for it in terms of means and facilities, as well as athletes.
The 18th Asian Games in 2018 will be held in two cities, which are Jakarta and Palembang in South Sumatra.
Events will be held in 40 sporting disciplines in the four-yearly event, one of them being cycling.
The discipline will offer 22 competitions, and so, many medals will be up for grabs. All eyes will be on the hosts who will be expected to perform well, despite the fact that competition in events such as MTB XC, MTB DH, BMX, track and road race would be very tight.
In view of this, the executive board of the Indonesian Cycling Federation (PB ISSI) have the task of deciding who will be fielded in the championship, as the right choice would certainly determine Indonesias success.
"So far, PB ISSI has continued monitoring the development of its cyclists in all disciplines. We have kept records of their development and now, we are ready to nominate the athletes, although we do not rule out replacements or additions later," Budi Saputra, national team manager, said.
In general, the PB ISSI has already determined the athletes who will be fielded in the event, and they will have to immediately report to the Ministry of Sports to get the decision letter for conducting the Asian Games 2018 national training program, except that the number of athletes could still possibly be increased, he stated.
For road race, five male athletes will be called, namely, Jamal Hibatulloh and Muhammad Arifin from KFC Cycling Team, Abdul Soleh from BRCC Banyuwangi, senior racer Robert Manullang and Aiman Cahyadi, who has so far been with Sapura Pro-Cycling Team Malaysia.
With regard to women racers, there will be Yanti Fuchiyanti, Azizah and Magfirotika Mareda. Two women racers will be added to participate in track endurance. They are Ayustina Delia Priatna and Liontin Evangelina Setiawan.
Many newcomers will be seen in the road race, especially in the mens event, such as Jamal Hibatulloh, Muhammaf Imam Arifin and Andul Doleh, who were Indonesian stars in the Tour de Singkarak and Aiman, having made records at Tour de Selangor to Tour de Siak.
"I am ready if I am selected to the national team for the Asian Games 2018, but I would wait for the decision of the team management. I will do my best if I am selected," Hibatulloh remarked.
Track racer Terry Yudha, who shone at Asia Junior, has also been nominated besides Puguh Atmadi and Ahmad Raditya. For sprint, PB ISSI would possibly include BMX SEA Games 2017 gold medalist I Gusti Bagus Saputra.
For track endurance, there will be Nandra Eko, Eko Bayu, Bernard and Aiman Cahyadi and Robin Manullang, while in the womens sprint event, there will be Crismonita Dwi Putri and Southeast Asia BMX queen Elgha Khatisma Novanda.
"For mens road race and track, there will still be additional athletes, but their names are still being discussed. They will be known before we submit the list to the Ministry of Sports," Saputra revealed.
Besides the track race, Indonesia will also depend on Elga Kharisma in womens BMX category, as she is expected to win a gold medal in this event. In the mens event, there will be Gusti Bagus Saputra, Rio Akbar and possibly Tony Syarifudon and Emen, he mentioned.
Indonesia is also expecting a gold medal from MTB, while for XC, PB ISSI would rely on senior racer Popo Ario Sejati, Hildan Afos Katana, Khoiful Mukhib and two womens racers Tiara Andini Prastika and Nining Purwaningsih.
For MTB XC, senior racer Kusmawati Yazid will be selected again besides Noviana and Rohida, as well ad Zaenal Fanani, Sugianto and Fika for the mens event.
"Although no new decision letter has been issued, the national training program is being held for the MTB DH, as well as BMX and track since October. The program for road race will start in January," Saputra maintained.
Indonesias prospects at the games are open, but for the nominees to win medals, continued competition is needed, besides training abroad and participation in international championships, he asserted.
Former national racer, who is now the manager of KFC Cycling Team, Parno, stressed that he was ready to release his athlete for the Asian Games but hoped the schedule would not clash with KFCs, which is the only continental team from Indonesia that will take part in Asia Tour 2018.
"It is better if they are called one or two weeks before the Asian Games begin. Why? It is because road racers must take part in many events to boost their spirit and the motivation to compete. Just training is not enough. However, we are ready to release our athletes, if they are called to join the national team," he said.
Gatot S Dewa Broto, Secretary of the Ministry of Sports, said in an official statement that proposals from sports branches with regard to training for the Asian Games must be submitted to the fourth deputy on December 15 latest.
"The proposals must include details about the targets and goals, planning, training period, number of athletes, supporting team, funding and supervision," he declared.
He reiterated that the correct choice of athletes and the training program for them would be the key to getting the best results.
Source: ANTARA News