Vientiane, MINA — The Laos government is spending more than 9.9 billion kip ($1.16 million) in preparing competitors to take part in 12 sports at the 18th Asian Games in Indonesia from August 18-September 2, Vientiane Times reported.
Some 271 athletes, coaches and officials are set to represent Laos at the Asian Games.
Pencak silat, boxing, wushu, archery, weightlifting plus track and field athletes are currently preparing at the Lao National Sports Training Center with taekwondo and sepak takraw training taking place at the National University of Laos Dongdok campus.
The judo team is training at the Lao-Japan Budo Center, swimmers at the Km16 pool in Xaythany district, and karate-do fighters at the Polytechnic College, while the cycling team is training along the 450 Road.
Sports officials believe pencak silat, sepak takraw, wushu, boxing, taekwondo, judo, karate-do, judo, archery and baseball are Laos’ best medal hopes at the games.
“We have hired foreign coaches to improve the athletes in these sports in the hope of winning medals at the Asian Games,” Director General of the Elite Sports Department, Ministry of Education and Sports, Mr Sengphone Phonamath said.
The pencak silat team is being guided by an Indonesian coach, sepak takraw has two Thai coaches, wushu and archery have Chinese instructors, taekwondo has a Republic of Korea coach, the judo and karate-do teams have Japanese mentors, baseball is coached by two South Koreans, and the boxing team is coached by a Russian.
The National Olympic Committee of Laos has been cooperating with the various sports federations to regularly check on the progress of the athletes’ training.
“We have also been sending taekwondo, pencak silat, wushu, sepak takraw, boxing, baseball, paragliding, and track and field athletes to overseas training camps ahead of the Asian Games,” Mr Sengphone said.
The football, baseball, shooting, tennis, table tennis and paragliding teams have used their own budgets to support training ahead of the games in Indonesia.
Laos will compete in three sepak takraw events and face opponents from Myanmar, China, Japan and host Indonesia.
A pencak silat team competed at the Pre-Asian Games in Indonesia where they won one gold and five bronze medals. (T/RS5/RS1)
Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)