Jakarta. This year's Southeast Asian Games were marked by yet another controversy, this time a claim by Indonesian team manager Edhy Prabowo that scoring in the pencak silat competition had been inflated in favor of Malaysia to ensure a win for the host nation.
Indonesian pair Yolla Primadona Jumpil and Hendy came up against Malaysians Taqiyuddin bin Hamid and Rosli bin Mohd Sharif in the artistic male doubles category at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Center on Thursday (24/08), where the judges awarded the host pair 582 points, which eventually earned them a gold medal.
The Indonesian pair won silver with 554 points – just ahead of Singapore's Muhammad Haziq and Nujaid Hasif, who earned bronze with 543 points.
"For me, it's impossible [for Malaysia to have won]. We met Malaysia not just once; we competed against them five times before and they never reached the podium. Here [at their home], they finally stand on the podium," Yolla, the SEA Games defending champion and current world number one, told Detiksport.
"It has never happened before that judges awarded 582 points in this category. Never mind 582, even to getting 570 is extremely difficult," Prabowo said after managing to calm Hendy and Yolla, who were reportedly overcome by emotion.
The two were the highest scorers in the category with 574 points during Indonesia's National Sports Week last year. They also accumulated 570 points during the 2015 World Pencak Silat Championship in Phuket, Thailand.
"It's absolutely not authentic, not proper. Never in the history of the male doubles has anyone had such inflated points. You saw the contest, right? They [the Malaysian pair] did not even deserve a third place; not even a fourth," Prabowo said.
He went on to allege that the tournament had been rigged.
"I knew Malaysia would cheat. This is not good for our athletes, but we now have to accept this," he said.
"If the host wants to win, that's it, we won't raise any objection because it would be a waste of time.
"They [Malaysia] never reached the podium before; we feel disappointed that the host doesn't respect the quality of pencak silat and has to resort to winning in such a way."
Pencak silat is a form of martial arts that originated from Indonesia. The country was the top performer in the sport during the 2015 SEA Games, when it managed to won three gold, three silver and five bronze medals.
Another 19 pencak silat events have yet to be staged during this year's SEA Games.