Indonesia has set a modest target of two bronze medals at the inaugural Youth Olympic Games, with weightlifting and badminton seen as the country’s best chances for a podium finish.
The country has sent 14 athletes to the Games, which open on Saturday and run until Aug. 26, but only two are seen as serious medal contenders.
The Indonesian Badminton Association (PBSI) has said that Evert Sukamta could secure a podium finish, while the Indonesian Weightlifting, Bodybuilding and Powerlifting Association (Pabbsi) likes Dewi Safitri’s chances of winning a medal.
Eighteen-year-old Evert, who qualified for the Youth Olympics after finishing in the top five at the Asian under-19 championships in March, will be going for gold in boys’ singles.
Dewi will compete in the girls’ 53-kilogram division. The 17-year-old booked a spot in the Singapore Games after finishing third at the Asian youth championships in April 2009.
Djoko Pramono, head of the Olympic Solidarity Commission at the Indonesia Olympic Committee (KOI), said officials were tempering expectations because of the quality of the opposition.
“We didn’t set any clear goals because the competition will be tough,” Djoko said on Friday.
The other athletes who will compete in Singapore are: Erlina Safitri (archery); Renna Suwarno (badminton); Elga Kharisma, Destian Satria, Suherman and Ongky Setiawan (cycling); Fibriani Ratna Marita, Pratama Siahaan and Patricia Yosita (swimming); Macho V Hungan (taekwondo); Grace Sari Ysidora (tennis); and Zainuddin (weightlifting).
Renna was given a spot on the squad after China was forced to drop one shuttler from its team because it had already filled its official quota.
Zainuddin made the team when he replaced another Indonesian lifter, Sumaryanto, who was found to be below the minimum age requirement. Sumaryanto, 15, was ruled ineligible because he was a year too young.
The three swimmers on the squad — Fibriani, Pratama and Patricia — qualified for the Youth Olympics after posting impressive results at the Singapore National Age Group Championships in March.
Elga, who will compete in the BMX event, secured a berth during a BMX and mountain-bike event in Singapore in May, while Destian, Suherman and Ongky received wild cards from the world cycling federation last month.
Erlina, Macho and Grace were also given wild cards by their respective international federations.
Meanwhile, the president of the Indonesia National Sports Committee (KONI), Rita Subowo, said officials were already looking ahead to two major junior tournaments — the Asian Youth Games in Incheon, South Korea, in 2013 and the next Youth Olympics, in Nanjing, China, in 2014.
“We want to send more athletes to these competitions, which is why we’ve begun our search for young athletes with potential,” Rita said.
Indonesia’s Youth Olympic team
Archery: Erlina Safitri;
Badminton: Evert Sukamta and Renna Suwarno;
Cycling: Elga Kharisma, Destian Satria, Suherman and Ongky Setiawan;
Swimming: Fibriani Ratna Marita, Pratama Siahaan and Patricia Yosita; Taekwondo: Macho V Hungan;
Tennis: Grace Sari Ysidora;
Weighlifting: Dewi Safitri and Zainuddin