RI nixes wild cards for London Games
Indonesia will neither request nor accept wild card berths for the London Olympics, and will rely on hard work to win gold in 2012, according to an official.
Indonesian athletes should work hard to earn a berth in London and leave the wild cards to athletes from disadvantaged nations, Indonesian Olympics Council (KOI) secretary-general Timbul Thomas Lubis said.
“We won’t use the wild card heat for the Olympics. Even if we get an offer, it is about time to say no,” Timbul told The Jakarta Post in Jakarta on Tuesday.
The International Olympics Council, the National Olympics Council and local organizers usually give wild card berths to athletes from developing nations to encourage competition. In other Olympic sports, such as judo, archery and badminton, wild cards are frequently given by sport federations.
“It is no longer appropriate for us to get a wild card,” Timbul said, adding that other countries, such as Timor Leste, were more derserving.
Indonesian athletes have received several Olympic wild card berths, including runners Dedeh Erawati, Triyaningsih and Rini Budiarti and archer Gina Rahayu in Beijing in 2008; and tennis players Angelique Widjaja (Athens, 2004) and Wynne Prakusya (Sydney, 2000).
Timbul said that Indonesia had a good chance of bringing home the gold in several sports in 2012. “Some of our athletes — such as from boxing, karate, athletics and swimming — are scheduled to take part in international events ahead of Olympic qualifications. Badminton and weightlifting are our best opportunities for grabbing the gold,” Timbul said. Indonesia would only send the athletes with the greatest potential to London.
“We shall not send athletes who have reached the age maximum, for example, because it will only increase the size of the contingent without guaranteeing that we will achieve more in the medal tally,” he added.
Separately, Indonesian Archery Association (Perpani) official Leanne Manurung said her athletes would continue their efforts to reach the Games, with or without wild cards.
“We are confident that our athletes will reach the Olympics through qualification,” Leanne said.
Shuttlers Susi Susanti and Alan Budikusuma brought home Indonesia’s first Olympic gold medals during the 1992 Barcelona games.
The pair’s medals, awarded for women’s and men’s singles badminton, respectively, came 30 years after the nation’s first Olympic performance in Helsinki in 1952.