Wrestling Champion Under Pressure to Repeat 2011 Victory
After making history as Indonesia’s first female wrestling gold medalist at the 2011 Southeast Asian Games, Ridha Wahdaniyati is under pressure to retain her title at this year’s regional Games in Myanmar in December.
“They said regaining a title you have already won is way more difficult than winning it for the first time. And yes, that is true,” the 21-year-old wrestler said after her morning training session at Jakarta’s Gelora Bung Karno Sports Complex on Tuesday.
And it is becoming more challenging for the athlete from South Kalimantan as she needs to compete in a different weight class. Ridha, who won her gold in the women’s 63 kilogram category, will compete in the 59 kg event at the Myanmar Games.
In the new class Ridha will likely have to face tough opponents, including the defending champion Wilaiwan Thongkham from Thailand and the 2011 runner-up, Vietnam’s Duong Thi Lan.
“They are good fighters and I believe they have prepared better this time. My teammates and I have not had any international tournament experience since we came here to the training camp,” she said.
“We train everyday here. But it’s not good enough. I heard the Indonesia Wrestling Association is preparing us now for local tournaments in Romania as our first tryout competitions in October.”
Ridha is also keeping pace with new match regulations issued by the International Federation of Associated Wrestling Styles (FILA).
“The new regulations bring more challenges to wrestlers. For example, we used to fight in three rounds where each round lasts for two minutes. The new regulations see a two-round match, with each round lasting for three minutes. There are a few new things I need to learn,” she said.
Indonesia will send four male and four female wrestlers to Myanmar in a bid to bring home four gold medals, four silver and five bronze, equal to its 2011 Games tally.