Indonesians allege Malaysia manipulation

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Indonesia have accused hosts Malaysia of cheating during the pencak silat martial arts competition. AFP

KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) – Indonesia have accused hosts Malaysia of cheating during the pencak silat martial arts competition at the Southeast Asian Games, in the latest controversy between the two countries at the regional mini-Olympics.

Malaysia’s Taqiyuddin bin Hamid and Rosli bin Mohd Sharif took gold in the men’s artistic doubles, but Indonesia team manager Edhy Prabowo claimed they were awarded an unfairly high score.

The accusation comes after Malaysian Games organisers mistakenly printed Indonesia’s flag upside-down in a commemorative magazine, prompting protests in Indonesia and revenge hacking attacks.

“It’s absolutely not authentic, not proper. Never in the history of the male doubles has anyone had such inflated points,” Prabowo said, according to Indonesian news website Detiksport.

“They did not even deserve a third place, not even a fourth,” he said, adding: “I knew Malaysia would cheat. This is not good for our athletes, but we now have to accept this.”

Indonesia’s Yolla Primadona Jumpil and Hendy, the defending champions, were reportedly enraged after coming second in the competition with 554 points, behind the Malaysian team’s 582.

“It has never happened before that judges awarded 582 points in this category. Never mind 582, even to get 570 is extremely difficult,” Prabowo said.

Twenty SEA Games gold medals are available in the Indonesian martial art, which is so popular that the competition was moved from its original venue to a bigger stadium.

“For me, it’s impossible that Malaysia won,” Yolla was quoted as saying. “We met Malaysia not just once; we competed against them five times before and they never reached the podium. Here they finally stand on the podium.”

There was no immediate comment from SEA Games organisers, who earlier apologised to Indonesia – as did Malaysia’s foreign ministry and sports minister – for the flag error.

Table-topping Malaysia are on course for their most successful Games yet, after winning a national high of 106 gold medals heading into the final day of full competition today.

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