Eko eyes country’s first weightlifting gold

Padang ekspres.net-After successfully guiding weightlifter Eko Yuli Irawan to gold at the recent SEA Games in Laos, coach Lukman is setting his sights on the same target at the upcoming Asian Games in Guangzhou, China.

Indonesian lifters’ best achievement in the quadrennial Asian Games has been silver, won by Erwin Abdullah in Pusan, South Korea, eight years ago. Erwin was also a protégé of Lukman’s, himself a former national lifter before he took up coaching in 1997.

At the 2006 Asian Games in Doha, Qatar, the weightlifting team came home with a single bronze medal from Sinta Darmariani in the women’s 69-kilogram category.

“It has long been my desire to contribute what is best for the Indonesian team,” Lukman told The Jakarta Post on Thursday.

“Eko has great potential to win gold at the Asian Games. At last year’s World Championships, he won silver behind the champion from China, but his lift was only a kilogram less than the winner’s.”

Eko, 21, won silver in the men’s 62-kilogram event at the 2009 World Championships in Goyang, South Korea, with an overall lift of 315 kilograms, while gold medalist Ding Jianjun lifted 316 kilograms.

“Eko needs to be able to lift 325 kilograms to guarantee the Asian Games gold medal,” Lukman said.
“We’ll be working on that before departing for Guangzhou in November.”

Eko has also expressed his longing to become the country’s first lifter to win gold at the Asian Games.

“Winning gold is every athlete’s dream, that’s why I personally wish to exceed my coach’s overall lift target and go for 330 kilograms,” the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games bronze medalist told the Post on Thursday.

He acknowledged his pursuit would not come easy as he would meet world-class weightlifting juggernauts at the Asian Games, including from host China, South and North Korea, Iran and Taiwan.

Eko is now looking ahead to the World Championships in Turkey this September, as a tryout prior to the Asian Games.

The Indonesian Weightlifting, Powerlifting and Bodybuilding Association (PABBSI) has recommended that 10 lifters be admitted into the country’s Asian Games training center, scheduled to kick off Feb. 1.

Besides Eko, the others include Triyatno (men’s 69-kilogram), Jadi Setiadi (men’s 56-kilogram), Gustar Junianto (men’s 69-kilogram), Sandow Nasution (men’s 77-kilogram), Raema Lisa Rumbewas (women’s 58-kilogram), Okta Dwi Pramita (women’s 58-kilogram), Sinta Darmariani (women’s 75-kilogram) and Citra Dwi Lestari (women’s 53-kilogram).

A total of 109 athletes from 17 sports have been registered for the upcoming training program.

Also on Thursday, the National Sports Council (KONI) deputy and head of the Asian Games training center, Hendardji Supandji, submitted a revised proposal for the center’s funding allocation to Rp 45 billion (US$4.9 million) from the initial Rp 53 billion.

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