Jakarta. The decision to dissolve sports high-performance task force Satlak Prima has been called "inappropriate" by Olympic champion Taufik Hidayat, who believes the government has misidentified critical factors that led to the country's lackluster performance at the recent SEA Games in Malaysia.
Sports Minister Imam Nahrawi voiced concern over Satlak Prima, which he said failed to pay national athletes on time and which was believed by many to inadequately manage athletes during the SEA Games in August, where Indonesia gave its worst performance on record.
Taufik, a former elite shuttler and deputy chairman of Satlak Prima, believes the government is wrong to blame the agency over country's weak performance in Malaysia.
"Satlak Prima is an agency to help elite athletes to reach optimum performance with special training. So, it does also help the national governing bodies through sport technical matters," he said in a statement received by the Jakarta Globe on Monday (09/10).
"It has no relation with distributing payments."
After the Games in Malaysia, women's shot-put gold medalist Eki Febri Ekawati bemoaned the lack of funding for her accommodation during the competition.
"All the procedures of distributing payments is handled by the Ministry of Sports, so for me this decision [to dissolve Satlak Prima ] is misguided and a blunder," Taufik added.
Taufik, the son-in-law of Agum Gumelar, a former chairman of Indonesia's National Sports Committee (KONI), revealed that the bureaucratic red tape over payment distribution would not be improved by dissolving his agency.
"I heard that KONI will take a bigger portion. This is ridiculous, they say they want to cut the red tape, but they plan to give KONI greater tasks to replace Prima. It's only the name which is changed, the complicated system will stay the same," he said.
"I urge all elite sport stakeholders to re-discuss this matter, and one thing important: don't bring politics into sports," he concluded.
Satlak Prima was established in 2010 by a presidential regulation undersigned by former President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. The body is responsible for boosting elite athletes' performances at international competitions.