New Collegiate Sports Body Aims to Boost Skills, Results and Leadership
If things go as planned, Indonesian sports will get a major boost when Liga Mahasiswa — meaning Collegiate League and abbreviated as Lima — tips off later this year.
The country’s sports officials have long struggled to find and nurture quality athletes to improve Indonesia’s global sporting achievements at events such as the Olympic Games.
The most pressing problem, according to many senior officials, is the lack of youth development and competitions.
To help solving the issue, Lippo Group and the Mahaka Group have teamed up to bankroll Lima.
“We are an independent organization that is inspired by the NCAA [National Collegiate Athletics Association]. We want to organize all inter-collegiate sport events into one body and introduce the student-athlete concept here,” Lima chief executive Ryan Gozali said on Friday after a signing ceremony with the Indonesian Basketball Federation (Perbasi) in Jakarta.
The NCAA brings together 1,281 institutions, conferences, organizations and individuals, coordinating the sports programs of colleges and universities in the United States and Canada.
“Our aim is to eventually include all Olympic sports in Lima’s programs,” Ryan said. “We chose to start with basketball because it already has the structure with its Libamanas [National Basketball Collegiate League], where teams from 60 universities and colleges competed for the trophy last year. Next in our list is badminton, while we are still talking about swimming and golf.”
There are still no details yet about how the competition will be run, but Ryan said the basketball league will start in the first week of October, while badminton is scheduled to start in March next year.
Perbasi chairman Anggito Abimanyu said youth development had always been a priority and he believed Lima could take Libamanas to the next level.
“Libamanas will be reborn, and I believe [Lima] can organize better competitions. I asked them to make education a priority so that the competition would not interfere with athletes’ study time,” said Anggito after signing three-year deal with Lima. “I also hope that in time Lima can give scholarships to the top athletes who are competing there.”
Mahaka Group co-founder Erick Thohir, who also owns basketball clubs Satria Muda Britama and the Indonesia Warriors, believes that sports play a crucial part in the nation’s character building.
“Sporting values such as discipline, fairness and competitiveness will help Indonesia to get more great leaders in the future,” Erick said. “More positive activities will be good for the youth.”
Lippo Group representative John Riady agreed. “There are more than just sports competitions in Lima. We’re trying to help shape a better future for the country,” John said.
The Jakarta Globe is affiliated with the Lippo Group.