Score one for Indonesia: After some uncertainty, it turns out that badminton, the country’s best sport, will be a major part of the 2013 Southeast Asian Games.
The sport had been dropped from the Games because host Myanmar said it lacked the proper facilities.
But at a meeting of the SEA Games Council in Naypyidaw, Myanmar, earlier this week, the Indonesian contingent pushed for the inclusion of badminton, Indonesia Olympic Committee official Ade Lukman told the Jakarta Globe on Wednesday.
“The proposal was taken into the Executive Committee meeting and the committee agreed to put badminton and one more sport, table tennis, on the SEA Games’ sports list,” Ade said.
“Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand supported the proposal as they will also fight for medals. And, their support made it easier.”
With the two new additions, there will be 33 sports with 40 disciplines from previous 31 sports and 33 disciplines. A discipline is an event in which it is possible to earn a medal.
While badminton will make the Games, scheduled for December, the Indonesian martial art tarung derajat will not, as most council members rejected a proposal to include it.
Ade said Myanmar supported tarung derajat, but the other countries didn’t.
“Myanmar has prepared seven athletes after the 2011 SEA Games. But, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam declined,” Ade said. “Besides, there are too many martial arts. There are 10 martial art sports with around 40 gold medals.”
The 10 martial arts are boxing, judo, karate, kempo, muay thai, pencak silat, taekwondo, vovinam, wrestling and wushu.
Indonesia will also lose medals from tennis, as the sport will not be held in Myanmar due to limited infrastructure. In previous editions of the SEA Games, Indonesia dominated tennis by taking four gold, two silver and three bronze medals, followed by Thailand with two gold, three silver and four bronze medals.
“We’re still fighting for tennis,” Ade said. “But, the host country has the final word as we have to take infrastructure into consideration and Myanmar said they haven’t built tennis infrastructure.
“Tennis is an Olympic sport and it’s a pity if it isn’t played in the SEA Games. I know the SEA Games charter is far from perfect and we have to improve it.”