Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Lack of Cash May Force National Side to Miss Asiad

Apparently, for some national teams, glory on the field doesn’t immediately translate to a free ride to the Asian Games.

The national women’s softball team qualified for the Asian Games in Guangzhou, China, after it finished fifth in the Asian Women’s Championship in Brunei in 2008. However, with limited finances, the team may be forced to miss the tournament in November.

Gugun Yudinar, president of the Indonesian Baseball and Softball Association (Perbasasi), told the Jakarta Globe on Tuesday that the federation had sent a letter to the Golden Indonesia Program (Prima), asking the group organizing the training camp for Asian Games-bound athletes to include women’s softball in its budget.

Prima and the Indonesian Olympic Committee (KOI) have said previously that only national teams they feel have a chance to bring home a medal will receive funding.

“Even though we can’t promise to win a medal as our opponents are too tough, I really hope our request would be granted because it is the first time our national team has qualified for the Asiad,” Gugun said.

Competing in the Asian Games, Gugun added, could jumpstart the development of women’s softball, especially with the country hosting the upcoming 2011 Southeast Asian Games.

The Perbasasi said its target in the 2011 SEA Games was to win the gold.

According to Gugun, Perbasasi officials are “open to looking for parties that can sponsor the team,” should Prima turn down the squad’s request.

Last year, the federation struggled to send the men’s baseball team to the Asian Championship in Tokyo and the men’s softball team to the World Championship in Saskatoon, Canada, because of financial constraints.

It still managed to participate in the tournaments though, after Andi Arif, owner of Smada baseball club in Lampung, shouldered more than half of the team’s budget.

Meanwhile, Perbasasi will have to set aside off-field problems this week, as the country hosts the Asean Women’s Softball Championship at Gelora Bung Karno stadium, Jakarta, which begins on Thursday.

Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand are all competing in the event.

As the host, Indonesia is fielding two teams — the Red team composed of senior national team players and the White squad which features junior players.

As soon as the tournament finishes, Perbasasi will announce the 23-player squad for the Asian Games training camp, of which 17 will make the final cut.
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