Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Asian Games-Bound Squad Resumes Preparations After Two-Month Delay

Its plans set back by a volcanic eruption earlier this year, the national wrestling team is now ready to begin training for the Asian Games in Guangzhou, China, in November.

The wrestlers were originally scheduled to start their training camp in Bucharest, Romania, in June, but their plans were disrupted when the eruption of Eyjafjallajokull volcano in April caused air traffic to be grounded across Europe.

Indonesian Wrestling Association (PGSI) chairman Wafid Muharram said the federation had a hard time organizing the team’s calendar because it couldn’t find available flights.

With the squad’s itinerary finalized, Wafid said a team of five wrestlers would be sent to train in Bucharest next month.

“Rescheduling was hard, finding round-trip tickets and all, so we just waited until the situation became normal,” Wafid said on Wednesday.

The wrestlers will stay in Romania until just before the Asian Games commence on Nov. 14 in Guangzhou.

“They will fly straight to China from there,” Wafid said. “They will be accompanied by two of our coaches and will be assisted by a coach from the Romanian wrestling federation.”

Hendry Ridwan, PGSI’s head of athletes’ development, said the association chose Romania because wrestling was a traditional sport there and the cost of living was not too high. “Besides training, our wrestlers will also participate in several competitions there,” Hendry said.

All five wrestlers booked for the Romania camp won medals at the 2009 Southeast Asian Games in Laos.

Ardiansyah and Fachriansyah won the gold medal in the 50-kilogram Greco-Roman event and the 74-kg freestyle divisions, respectively. Three others — M Aliansyah (60-kg Greco-Roman), M. Badriansyah (60-kg freestyle) and M. Ricky Fajar (55-kg freestyle) — took silver medals.

The country did not send a wrestling team to the 2006 Asian Games in Doha, Qatar, because of poor results leading up to the Games.

For the 2010 Asiad, Wafid said the PGSI was not setting a medal target.

“We are aware that winning medals at the Asian Games is almost impossible. The sport’s giants, like Iran, China and Korea, will dominate the medal table,” he said.

“Our main target is to give our wrestlers more experience in the Games and then win as many medals as possible when Indonesia hosts the 2011 SEA Games.”

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