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Basketball - 13. October 2008.

Indonesia - Indonesia hosts Asian Junior Championship

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Indonesia will host the U-18 Asian Women’s Junior Basketball Championship on November 2 – 9. However, the Indonesian team is reportedly unprepared to compete in the event which will be vied by 12 countries. “We had planned to start practicing this Monday, but we had to postpone it until next week,” said coach Rastafari Horongbala, yesterday.

According to Rastafari, financial problems have been impeding their practice. “But we will still try to do our best,” he assured. He said he has not set high targets, “I just want them to perform well.”

He considers the tournament to be held at the Angkasa Stadium near Polonia Airport in Medan, North Sumatra, to be a good opportunity for the national team to start competing, given that the event will also be featured at the 2009 SEA Games.

Preparations on hosting the competition itself have not gone smoothly. “We have almost completed 100 percent of the preparations, but there are still some immigration issues to be resolved,” said Indonesian Basketball Association (Perbasi) secretary-general, Setia Darma Madjid, referring to participants from ASEAN. “As far as I know, they don’t need to pay for their visas, but the immigration office in Medan is asking for payment,” he said.

In addressing the problem, State Minister of Youth and Sports Affairs Adhyaksa Dault coordinated with Justice and Human Rights Minister Andi Mattalata. “I will try to clarify the situation,” he said. Based on the information received by Adhyaksa, only three countries would probably not be exempted from visa fees -- Burma, Cambodia and Laos.

The ASEAN countries which have registered for the competition are Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines. Darma feels that he must clarify this issue because, “When we took part in a similar event in Singapore two years ago we didn’t have to pay for our visas,” he said.

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