September 25, 2023
JAKARTA – Indonesia will compete in the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games in China with the goal of finishing among the top 10.
“Don’t aim for the top 12, I ask you to be in the top 10,” President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo told the athletes during a ceremonial send-off at the Merdeka Palace on Tuesday.
Indonesia previously hosted the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta and Palembang, ranking fourth in the largest sporting tournament in Asia.
The 19th Asian Games were postponed for a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and are therefore keeping their 2022 title.
The Youth and Sports Ministry previously targeted a rank within the top 12, but the President hopes for more.
“I know that being the host [country] makes a difference. But again, my target is to get in the top 10. Usually, my calculations are not wrong,” Jokowi added.
In 2018, Indonesia had its best result ever in the Asian Games, winning 31 gold medals, 24 silver medals and 43 bronze medals. Fourteen of those gold medals came from pencak silat, a local martial art that Indonesia introduced for the first time to the tournament.
Prior to 2018, the last time Indonesia brought home more medals than any other country was in 1962, also when it hosted the event in Jakarta. The country ranked second and won 11 gold medals.
“Happy competing, and on behalf of the people and the nation, I look forward to the achievements and medals that we will receive,” Jokowi said.
This year’s contingent consists of 576 people, which includes 413 athletes, 132 officials and 28 head of mission teams participating in 30 of the tournament’s 40 sports events.
In comparison, the Indonesian contingent in 2018 consisted of 1,383 people, 938 of which were athletes.
Youth and Sports Minister Dito Ariotedjo said that 78 athletes and officials had already started competing in Hangzhou while 110 were holding training camps abroad. The rest started departing for Hangzhou on Thursday.
Dito said that, in line with the National Sports Grand Design, the 19th Asian Games would be a steppingstone to the 2024 Paris Olympics, which he sees as the main target.
The minister hopes that Indonesia will bring home at least eight gold medals.
“We ask for the entire nation’s support and prayers so that Indonesia can become a winner,” Dito said.
Some competitions for the Asian Games started on Tuesday, before Saturday’s opening ceremony.
In soccer, the Indonesian U-24 team lost 0-1 to Taiwan on Thursday after beating Kyrgyzstan 2-0 in the group’s opening match.
North Korea now ranks first in soccer’s Group F, trailed by Indonesia in second place with three points. Indonesia must win against North Korea on Sunday to qualify for the round of 16. Otherwise, Indonesia will need to bet on Kyrgyzstan, which is currently at the bottom of the group, beating Taiwan.
In indoor volleyball, Indonesia beat Afghanistan in three sets on Thursday, leading the team to qualify for the round of 16 as a runner-up in Group F, just below Japan.
Meanwhile, Indonesia’s beach volleyball team topped the group stage after two wins, while the women’s cricket team was controversially disqualified from the quarterfinal after heavy rain canceled their match and prompted the organizers to give the win to Pakistan, which has a higher world ranking.