Wednesday, August 29, 2007
The Jakarta Post, Jakarta
The Asian Men's Volleyball Championship will be give Asian teams a chance to turn around their disappointing performances since the 2004 Olympics, the chairwoman of Indonesia's Sport Council (KONI) Rita Subowo says.
"The achievement of Asian countries in volleyball has been on the decline since the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. The men's teams could hardly get through the Olympic qualifications, while a women's team took the world championship," said Rita, who is a newly elected member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), during a press conference Tuesday.
Rita said the IOC had decided to establish a taskforce to help improve the performance of Asian volleyball teams ahead of the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China.
The Championship, which will be held in Jakarta from Aug. 31 through Sep. 8, will be the first top-level international volleyball event held in Indonesia.
"In 1989, Indonesia also hosted an international championship but it was only a junior championship," Rita said.
She added that the Indonesian team should use their participation in the championship to gain the playing experience needed to improve their performance.
National team manager I Nyoman Sukesna said he was optimistic the Indonesian team would put up a strong fight at the championship, having prepared since February of this year. He said the team had taken part in national and international events, including the national Proliga championship and the Asian Men's Club Championship in Bahrain.
"We took position six from the 18 teams participating in the men's championship in Bahrain, so I believe that the team is getting more confident about its performance. Our target is a spot in the top six so we can be included in Olympic qualifications," Sukesna said. (02)