Jakarta. Indonesia will finish fifth in the medal tally at the 2017 Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, as the games approaches its closing ceremony on Wednesday (30/08).
Indonesia won 38 gold medals this year, its lowest since it joined the games in 1977.
Even in badminton, Indonesia's most successful sport, the country recorded its worst result at the SEA Games, finishing second, behind Thailand.
Host Malaysia tops the games this year with more than one hundred gold medals, followed by Thailand, Vietnam and Singapore.
According to BBC Indonesia, Indonesia's Ministry of Sports, the Indonesian Olympic Committee and its high-performance sports task force Satlak Prima had set a target of 55 gold medals and a fourth place finish at the games.
Instead, this was Indonesia's worst performance in the history of the SEA Games.
According to data provided by Tempo, out of 21 appearances at the Games since 1977, Indonesia finished fifth only three times: in 2005, 2015 and 2017. Apart from those years, Indonesia always finished at least in the top four.
Indonesia's second-worst gold medal tally before this year was in 2009, with 43 gold medals, even though it finished third.
Sports Minister Imam Nahrawi, who has never seen the Indonesian contingent meet its SEA Games target under his leadership, made an official apology on Tuesday, saying: "There will be a complete evaluation of the results, and I'll coordinate all key stakeholders, including federation leaders, to make sure we reach our target in the 2018 Asian Games."
Sports news outlet Detiksport noted Imam made the exact same apology when Indonesia failed to meet its gold medal target, also under his leadership, in the 2015 games.
However, this time Imam is trying to blame Indonesia's failure in badminton, sepak takraw and pencak silat — the sports in which it usually dominates — on suspected match-fixing.
"I suspect there was a scenario to stop us [from winning] and to help the host country win," Imam said after witnessing Indonesia's women's sepak takraw team walk out of a game against Malaysia on Aug. 20, accusing the referee of favoring the host's team.
Indonesia sent a total of 530 athletes in 36 disciplines to the 2017 SEA Games in Malaysia.