We could not provide a recommendation (to an athlete) if they have little potential to win a medal in the SEA Games
Jakarta (ANTARA) - Indonesian athletes must not self-fund to compete in the 31st SEA Games in Vietnam, as it is the government's responsibility to designate participating athletes and arrange for their embarkation, according to a ministry's official.

"The government has affirmed that athletes funded by their sports federation or funded on their own are not allowed (to depart on their own) as it is the responsibility of the government," Youth and Sports Ministry's National Sports Performance Improvement review team head Mochamad Asnawi stated here on Friday.

Asnawi noted that recommendations from the review team would determine whether athletes will be funded by the government to compete in the SEA Games.

"We could not provide a recommendation (to an athlete) if they have little potential to win a medal in the SEA Games," the official noted.

Earlier, some sports federations decided to continue sending their athletes to compete in the 31st SEA Games despite not having passed the assessment process for having little potential to win a medal.

Rhythmic gymnastics athlete Sutjiati Narendra could not compete in the SEA Games after the review team did not recommend her participation in the games, as they concluded that she has no achievement records in regional and international single or multievent competitions.

The athlete is still not allowed to compete despite insisting that she and her coach are ready to fund their travel on their own to participate in the SEA Games.

Responding to Narendra's grievance, Asnawi clarified that the government does not intend to block athletes from performing in international competitions, yet athletes must pass a certain standard before the authority decides on their participation in the games.

He encouraged athletes not participating in the SEA Games to not to become disheartened and to continue honing their skills to prove their capabilities.

"Do not fret, if they have the capability, the government will certainly facilitate their training. I believe sports federations must also bolster their athletes' training," the official stated.

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Translator: Shofi Ayudiana, Nabil Ihsan
Editor: Sri Haryati
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