The Indonesian boccia team is making its debut at an international competition at this year’s Asian Para Games in Jakarta.

The team did not prepare themselves well for the Para Games, having only selected its players last December.

“I was pessimistic at the beginning when I was told we would turn up for the 2018 Asian Para Games. We only selected athletes in December 2017. Training sessions effectively began in January 2018. At that time we adopted a promotion and relegation system. In April, we conducted the second phase of selection. Our [time] to prepare was simply short. Some of us trained for only six months, some others for nine months at the longest, “said Fery Kustono, the Indonesian boccia team manager.

Indonesia is new to the sport of boccia. In early 2016, the National Paralympic Committee sent representatives to a boccia workshop in Dubai. Upon their return, the committee became familiarized the sport.

“After the workshop, we started to promote the sport in schools for children with special needs in every province across Indonesia,” said Fery.

The campaign was fully supported by the Federation of International Boccia (Bisfed), which donated various boccia equipment to Indonesia.

“After the workshop in Dubai, the Indonesian National Paralympic Committee then learned that boccia was for people with cerebral palsy. Bisfed then gave us 10 sets of boccia balls,” Fery said.

“We distributed the equipment to the branches of the Indonesian National Paralympic Committee in every province of Indonesia. Since then, Indonesia has been registered with Bisfed.”

Participating in an international competition for the first time, the Indonesian boccia team did not set a certain target at the Asian Para Games.

“We only want to see how much our athletes have progressed. So far, we are not lagging too far behind countries that have known boccia for a long time. Thailand has world number one athletes, South Korea has played boccia for decades like Japan. I am satisfied with the performance of the Indonesian athletes, ” said Fery.

Original Report by: FTA, Editor: AP, APG Media and PR in cooperation with The Jakarta Post

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