Jakarta (ANTARA News) - As the host of the 2018 Asian Games, Indonesia is eyeing a top-10 place in the medals tally of the pan-Asian multi-sports event.
To secure it, Indonesia must win 15-20 gold medals in the 18th Asian Games scheduled to take place from Aug 18 to Sept 2, 2018, in Jakarta and Palembang.
In the history of the Asian Games, Indonesia has never taken home 20 gold medals. The country registered its highest tally of 11 gold medals in 1962, when it hosted the event for the first time.
In fact, in the past five editions of the Asian Games, Indonesia has never secured a top-10 place.
In the 1998 Asian Games, which was held in Bangkok, Indonesia finished 11th, with six gold, 10 silver and 11 bronze medals.
Indonesia saw its ranking drop to 14 when it collected just four gold, seven silver and 12 bronze medals in the Asian Games that was held in Busan in 2002.
The countrys ranking further slid to 22nd in the Asian Games held in Doha in 2006, when it secured only two gold, four silver and 14 bronze medals.
Indonesia improved its ranking in the Asian Games held in Guangzhou in 2010 by collecting four gold, nine silver and 15 bronze medals to secure the 15th place in the medals tally.
However, its ranking in the medals tally of the 2014 Asian Games held in Incheon dropped again to 17th with four gold, five silver and 11 bronze medals.
At the Southeast Asian level also, Indonesias ranking dropped during the 29th SEA Games held in Kuala Lumpur in August 2017.
Indonesia, a 10-time SEA Games overall champion, finished fifth in the medals tally of the biennial sports event held in the Malaysian capital, with 38 gold, 68 silver and 98 bronze medals.
It trailed behind hosts Malaysia, which had 145 gold, 92 silver and 86 bronze medals, Thailand with 72 gold, 86 silver and 88 bronze medals, Vietnam with 58 gold, 50 silver and 60 bronze medals, and Singapore with 57 gold, 58 silver and 73 bronze medals.
Moreover, Indonesias medals tally fell short of the government-set target of 55 gold medals. It also declined compared to two years ago when Indonesia finished fifth with 47 gold medals in the 28th SEA Games in Singapore.
The lackluster performance has prompted Youths and Sports Minister Imam Nahrawi to evaluate the performance of the Indonesian athletes taking part in the SEA Games 2017.
"We will evaluate the performance of our athletes in this SEA Games to ensure success in the upcoming Asian Games," he had mentioned on August 29.
Nahrawi stated that his ministry had ordered the Indonesian Olympic Committee (KOI) and the Gold Indonesia Program Task Force (Satlak Prima) to record everything to evaluate the achievements of athletes, juries and non-technical matters.
Hosting the 2018 Asian Games will provide a momentum to Indonesia to increase its medals tally in the quadrennial event.
To secure a top-10 place, Nahrawi has prepared a number of plans to groom Indonesian athletes for the Asian Games.
To that end, the Youths and Sports Ministry will use facilities which were initially built for the National Sports Weeks (PON) in the provinces of Riau, West Java and South Sumatra.
"By doing so, the national training camp will be centralized and will not be scattered in different places like now," Nahrawi noted earlier.
Above all, the ministry will also give Indonesian athletes more opportunities to engage in trial matches at home and abroad, so that they will be motivated to do their best, he said.
The government is set to increase the budget allocations by Rp735.06 billion next year to improve the performance of Indonesian athletes who will compete in the Asian Games, Nahrawi stressed after attending a meeting to discuss Indonesian athletes performances at the Vice Presidential Office in Jakarta on Nov 13, 2017.
Indonesia has identified at least 15 sporting disciplines that have the potential to contribute to the gold medals in the 2018 Asian Games, which will feature some 40 events.
The 15 sports events are archery, athletics, bowling, canoe/rowing, karate, paragliding, sport climbing, taekwondo, weightlifting and wushu, which are expected to contribute with one gold medal each, and badminton, bridge, cycling, jetski and pencak silat, which are expected to contribute two gold medals each.
Badminton has been consistently contributing the most gold medals, that is 26, since Indonesias participation in the Asian Games. Tennis is the second biggest contributor of gold medals with 15, followed by athletics with four, boxing with three, dragon boat with three and cycling with three.
"The 20 gold medals are a dynamic target, while the number of sports events may still be subject to change," chief of Satlak Prima Chief Achmad Soetjipto was quoted by detikcom as saying on the sidelines of a meeting with the House Commission X at the Parliament Building in Jakarta on September 12.
With more than eight months still to go, Indonesia must groom its athletes well to transform its dream of securing a top-10 place into reality.
Source: ANTARA News