Jakarta. After a moderate success at the Rio 2016 Olympics, winning only one gold and two silver medals, Indonesia now shifts its attention to hosting the Asian Games 2018 in the capital Jakarta and Palembang.
The Asian Games will feature 37 sports, and the host has a right to promote a sport of its own choosing, according to Suara Pembaruan.
Indonesian Sports Minister Imam Nahrawi said the government will push for "pencak silat," a martial art discipline originating from Indonesia, to be included in the Games along with climbing and bridge. The government will write up an official proposal and submit it to the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA), with an official answer expected in September.
Indonesia has been actively promoting pencak silat to various countries recently, including sending several pencak silat gurus to Suriname in early August for a three-month workshop sponsored by the Sports Ministry.
"We should get on social media to tell the world that pencak silat was invented by us, not by another country," Imam said in Jakarta on Sunday (21/08), referring to neighboring Malaysia's claim that the sport had its origins there.
According to the minister, pencak silat has been around in many forms in Indonesia even before colonial times, though it was only formally declared as a sport in 1948 with the establishment of Indonesia's first pencak silat association, IPSI, in Surakarta, Central Java.
Pencak silat has been included in the South East Asian (SEA) Games since 1987, where Indonesia traditionally dominates. In the last SEA Games in 2015, Indonesia earned 11 medals from pencak silat, followed closely by Vietnam, which won 10 medals.
Pencak silat has never been included in the Asian Games.