In hunt for medals, Indonesia offers incentives

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Indonesia is hoping to capitalise on its home advantage. Reuters

JAKARTA (Reuters) – Indonesia will offer athletes who win medals at the Asian Games over the next two weeks the chance to take up jobs in the country’s civil service, or to join the police force or army, officials said.

The offer comes on top of previously announced pledges to give houses and generous cash sums to gold medallists.

Indonesia is hoping to capitalise on its home advantage as host nation by breaking into the top 10 in the medal table for the first time since 1990 and aims to secure 16 gold medals.

“As long as they are healthy, medallists can become civil servants or members of the police or military,” Syafruddin, Indonesia’s chef de mission for the Games and deputy chief of police, told reporters.

The Ministry of Youth and Sports said previously that all “outstanding athletes” in the 2018 Asian Games and Asian Para Games could become candidates for the civil service and receive a public housing unit.

President Joko Widodo is rewarding gold medallists with a bonus of 1.5 billion rupiah ($102,700).

A giant symbolic 1.5 billion rupiah cheque was offered on Monday by sports minister Imam Nahrawi to taekwondo champion Defia Rosmaniar, who won Indonesia’s first gold.

By yesterday afternoon, weightlifter and two-time Olympic medallist Eko Yuli Wirawan had bagged Indonesia’s fifth gold medal, which was presented by President Widodo.

Many Indonesian athletes come from humble backgrounds, so the prospect of housing, cash and a job for life in the civil service are highly sought.

After Indonesian sprinter Lalu Muhammad Zohri won the 100 metres final at the under-20 world championships last month, Widodo ordered ministers to renovate his humble woven bamboo home into a modern house.

Zohri is due to compete in the event at the Games.

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