A competition that has been shelved for eight years is being reintroduced by local karate officials in the hope of giving Indonesia’s Asian Games prospects quality exposure.
The Indonesian Karate-do Federation (Forki) will stage the Indonesia Open Championships in Denpasar, Bali, on Sept. 24-26, with the goal of improving the performances of national team members headed for the Guangzhou Games in November.
The first Indonesia Open was held in 2002, and organizers thought it would become an annual event. However, funding problems set back the plan.
“We’ve been working hard to stage this event again, and this time we believe we can really make it a regular event,” Forki chairman Hendardji Supandji said on Monday.
“We hope this tournament will help Indonesian karatekas prepare as they hope to get better results in the Asian Games.”
Indonesia took home three bronze medals in the Asiad in Qatar in 2006, courtesy of Umar Syarief (men’s kumite, over-86-kilogram division), Jenny Zeannet (women’s kumite, under-53kg) and Mardiah Nasution (women’s kumite, over-60kg).
For the Guangzhou Games, Forki is looking to send eight karatekas.
In the women’s division — Telly Melinda (under-50kg), Tantri Widya Sari (under-61kg), Yolanda Asmuruf (under-68kg) and Dewi Yulianti (individual kata).
In the men’s division — Donny Dharmawan (under-60kg), Jintar Simanjuntak (under-67kg), Umar Syarief (over-85kg), and Faizal Zainuddin (individual kata).
“Our target is at least one gold medal. It doesn’t matter who among them wins it,” Hendardji said, adding that Forki will use the Indonesia Open to select the national team roster for the 2011 Southeast Asian Games.
Forki held a one-day competition at Gelora Bung Karno Hall C, Jakarta, on Monday, with the top 30 karatekas qualifying for the Indonesia Open. The federation will announce the final cut today.
“The Indonesia Open will be the last international tournament for the eight national team karatekas [before they go to the Asian Games],” Hendardji said.
“Those who will win in Bali but are not part of the Asiad will instead go to the World Championships in Serbia in October,” he added.
The national team will participate in an international invitational at Gelora Bung Karno Tennis Indoor Stadium on July 31-Aug. 1, then fly off to Japan for a training camp in Tokyo from Aug. 12-31.
To guide the karatekas during their training, Forki hired Japanese coach Hideto Tsuchiya, who has already been in the country for a month.
“Four months of training before the Asian Games should be enough to improve the team’s stamina, skills and fighting spirit to be able to achieve the target of a gold medal,” Tsuchiya said.