JAKARTA - Starting January 2017, Indonesia will intensify training of its athletes who will take part in the 2017 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, scheduled to be held in Malaysia in August.
However, this is not aimed at maximizing their achievements in the SEA Games because the country is not setting a medal target for the games.
Instead, the idea, according to the Youth and Sports Affairs Minister, Imam Nahrawi, is to prepare them for the Asian Games 2018 and Olympic Games 2020.
"We will send only a maximum of 250 athletes to the SEA Games 2017 in Malaysia, unlike in SEA Games 2015 when we sent 500 athletes," the minister said.
According to him, this years SEA Games, as a multi-sport championship at the Southeast Asian level, will only be a stepping stone for Indonesian athletes, especially in a number of priority sports where they can potentially win medals.
SEA Games is a sporting event built on the friendship of countries belonging to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and a number of non-Olympic sports will be contested there.
Nevertheless, despite no targets, Minister Imam Nahrawi has said that he will give bonuses to all athletes who wins medals at the SEA Games.
The minister also hoped that the public will not demand high performances from Indonesian athletes in 2017 because the focus of the countrys contingent is on the Asian Games 2018, which is slated to be held in Indonesia.
The Indonesian contingent has also not set a target at the trials for the Asian Games that will be held at the Bung Karno sports stadium in Jakarta later this year.
"Thats a championship trial. The athletes who will participate in this event are the young ones and not the athletes that join the national training (pelatnas)," he explained.
The Youth and Sports Affairs Ministry (Kemenpora) is focusing on training athletes at the Olympic training center or the Olympic Center in Cibubur, East Jakarta.
"We will give full attention to athletes at the Olympic Center for achieving good performances in the Asian Games. The Satlak Prima (the Indonesian Golden Program Implementing Unit) will continue to monitor the athletes with the Sport Science approach," he said.
The preparation for the 2018 Asian Games is one of four programs of the Kemenpora in 2017.