Thursday, January 10, 2008

RI pencak silat team back in the sun at Games

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Matheos Viktor Messakh and Damar Harsanto, The Jakarta Post, Nakhon Ratchasima

, National pesilat fulfilled their promise to once again dominate the country's traditional martial art during the 24th Southeast Asian Games here on Wednesday.

They won five gold, three silver and four bronze medals.

Coming to the biennial event with pesilat who were mostly young, Indonesia regained the crown it lost to Vietnam over the past few Games.

Old hand Rony Syaifullah, Diyan Kristianto, Pengky Simbar and Ni Nyoman Suparniti proved stronger than their rivals at the raucous final contest packed by local supporters, carrying trumpets and drums.

Rony, who is competing in his sixth Games here, overpowered hapless The Hoang Vu of Vietnam 5-0 in the men's Under-80 kilograms.

He said his Vietnamese opponent was younger and physically stronger and it was his experience and technical skills that won the fight.

With Wednesday's gold, he has so far bagged three gold, one silver and two bronze medals during a lifetime of Games participation.

The 31-year-old pesilat plans to retire from competition after the Games to coach.

"I did my best to contribute gold medals to Indonesia. I've been at the Games six times," he said.

Compatriot Diyan Kristianto also won the gold in the men's -50kg after defeating host pesilat Niphon Jantaro 3-2 before a frenzied crowd.

The 22-year-old said he didn't sleep well the night before awaiting the competition.

That didn't stop the 2005 Games silver medalist once he was in the arena and he wasn't bothered by the fanfare either.

"I was very focused on the fight. The only thing that mattered was how to bring back a gift for my parents," he said, adding that he immediately sent a text message to his father upon his victory.

Indonesia's third gold of the day came from Pengki who defeated world-and-defending champion Adnan Rina Jordana of Malaysia 4-1 at the women's -50kg final. Singapore's Amran Nur As'ashikeen and Vietnam's Anh Ngoc shared the bronze medal.

"We have learnt her style and I'm using her style to defeat her. It's a boomerang for her," said the 25-year-old and mother of one.

The winner at the 2006 Belgia Open and 2004 UK Open said she received tips from her father, Ventje Simbar, on how to defeat the Malaysian.

In the women's -65kg Suparniti won a gold after defeating Vietnamese Nguyen Thi Phuong Thuy 3-2.

In all, Indonesia won five gold medals -- including one on Tuesday -- out of a total of 14 available. Similarly, two years ago Indonesia's pesilat brought home five gold when a total 22 were on offer.

Indonesia's silver medals came from Andi Supiantoro in men's -55kg, Rosmayani in women's -55kg and Fitriani Puspa Endah in the women's +65kg, while the bronze medals were contributed by Indratno Suhud in -60kg, Pujo Janoko in men's -70kg and Mulyono in men's -75kg.

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