With the world’s eyes now fully focused on the London Olympics, Indonesians, too, will be cheering on their fellow citizens who are competing in the Games.
One such athlete is Diaz Kusumawardhani, the 16-year-old shooter who will be the first Indonesian athlete to compete for a medal in the London Games in the women’s 10-meter air rifle competition.
Indonesia has a strong contingent at the Games and we wish them the best of luck. It would be a great boost for the nation if we were to win an Olympic gold medal or two and gain recognition for excellence in sports. As a nation of this size, we should be doing far better at international sporting competitions.
Apart from badminton, Indonesia has not produced a world champion in sports for some years. This situation must change if we are to play a larger role on the global stage. Sporting excellence is important not just for gaining international recognition but also for building national pride.
But while producing international sports champions is a worthwhile goal, it is more crucial for the country to promote sports at all levels. This must start in schools and go on throughout life.
Promoting sports in all levels of society has multiple benefits. It will increase the chances of producing more world-class athletes, promote healthy lifestyles and reduce obesity in children, which is on the rise.
Competitive sports leagues require financing and organizational skills. We need to get private-sector businesses involved in sports which will help to inject a greater level of professionalism.
Sports for all should be the motto that the nation adheres to. This will have far-reaching benefits for individuals as well as the country.