[Updated at 1:22 p.m.]
Suffering from a severe lack of funding, the Indonesian task-force managing the preparations for December’s Southeast Asian Games in Myanmar said on Tuesday that it may be forced to scrap several athletic squads from its roster in order to focus on teams that have an actual shot at winning their events.
“We will still be able to retain the general champion title if the 23 top sports events can contribute gold medals,” Suryadharma, the chairman of the Prima, said as quoted by the state-run Antara news agency. He estimated the contingent would be able to reap 115 gold medals in 23 events.
“We still need Rp 60 billion [$5.9 million] to prepare for the games. But the government isn’t providing any more money, and relying on sponsors is almost impossible,” he said.
Suryadharma added that there were 23 events in which Indonesian teams could potentially win gold medals, and that seven to nine teams in other events may need to be dropped from the national team if the fund shortage is not addressed.
The government has allocated Rp 250 billion to Prima to maintain 700 elite and young athletes to compete in four tournaments: the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games, AsianYouth Games, the Islamic Solidarity Games and the SEA Games.
Surya said that the decision as to which sports’ athletes may have to be dropped from the national team will be made during a meeting that will take place late on Wednesday.
In 2011 — the year that Indonesia won the Games — the government allotted Rp 400 billion for the Southeast Asia Games alone.
The investment paid off, as Indonesia brought home 182 gold, 151 silver and 143 bronze medals to secure victory. Thailand followed in second place with 109-100-120, and Vietnam third with 96-92-100.