Kendal. To win medals at international competitions, Indonesian elite athletes must be supported by private funds, not only from the state budget, says Sports Minister Imam Nahrawi, after shot-put gold-winner Eki Febri Ekawati exposed delayed payments Indonesian athletes faced during the Southeast Asian Games a few weeks ago.
Eki won the gold medal at the 2017 SEA Games in Malaysia and took to social media to say that since the beginning of the year she was forced to use her own money to prepare for and compete in the games.
Since then Imam has been trying to show that he is working to fix the problem.
"The APBN [central government budget] and APBD [regional government budget] will be used for sports infrastructure, while to support athletes private funding will be involved," Imam said while overseeing a youth empowerment program in Kendal, Central Java, on Tuesday (12/09).
He compared this setup to how things work in badminton, Indonesia's most successful sport, which for years has been receiving huge support from a private company, making it possible for Indonesian shuttlers to compete internationally. Imam expressed hope the same kind of support will be found for other sports.
Delayed payments for athletes became his top concern after Eki's case.
"Show me other athletes who haven't been paid, give me their names ... I'll follow up on it to make sure everything is settled," he said.
He then added that Eki is now happy after the ministry and its sub-agencies promptly responded to her complaint. On her Instagram account she thanked the governmental sports bodies.