Thursday, January 10, 2008

'Rp 1b for Olympics winners'

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Matheos Viktor Messakh
, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

National Sports Council (KONI) chairwoman Rita Subowo has promised to provide a Rp 1 billion (US$105,876) cash bonus for each 2008 Beijing Olympics gold medalist -- the figure has not been raised since eight years ago.

"Just like the previous Olympic games four years ago, we will provide each gold medalist with Rp 1 billion, silver medalists with Rp 500 million and bronze medalists with Rp 250 million," she said Monday in Jakarta.

KONI will look for sponsors for the bonuses. Rita said the council would not take it from the Rp 35 billion fund allocated for the Olympic Games training program, by the office of the State Minister for Youth and Sports Affairs.

"We will look for sponsors and I think it will be quite easy because we will not be sending many athletes to the Olympic Games."

Four years ago, men's singles shuttler Taufik Hidayat received the Rp 1 billion cash bonus from KONI for his Olympic gold medal. In the 2000 Sydney Olympics, badminton men's doubles gold medalists Candra Wijaya and Tony Gunawan received the same amount, from the Extra Joss energy drink producer.

Rita said KONI and the sports ministry would discuss Tuesday the details of the Olympic preparations.

"Some sports disciplines are still holding their qualifying rounds for the Games. But I can say that we will send between 40 and 60 athletes to Beijing," she said.

Around 20 athletes from track and field, archery, badminton and weightlifting events have qualified for the Olympics. Eighty more athletes from 12 disciplines will also be groomed in the training camp for the quadrennial event, Indonesia's Olympics chef-de-mission Rosihan Arsyad said. Some of whom were gold medalists at the 2007 Southeast Asian Games and the 2006 Asian Games.

Rita said KONI would also accommodate the possibility of athletes from several sports to receive wild cards for the Olympics.

"Just like in tae kwon do and boxing, the qualifying process has already finished but there is a possibility some athletes may be given wild cards, so we will wait and see," she said.

"It is an honor for any athletes who get a ticket to the Games to participate in the world's top event," she added.

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