Indonesia Just Gave Free Houses to Its Weightlifting Medalists

Indonesia’s Olympic weightlifting team may not have brought home gold at Rio, but the country’s government is sending a clear message that they value strength sports. The two weightlifters who won silver, Eko Yuli Irawan (62kg class) and Sri Wahyuni Agustiani (48kg class), were just awarded free houses by the Indonesian Weightlifting Federation, the sport’s national governing body.

The award was also bestowed upon Sri Hartati, a powerlifter who has won five World Championship gold medals and benched 166kg (365lb) in the 57kg class last November.

“This is a sign of support for our high-achieving athletes,” said Indonesian Weightlifting Federation chairman Rosan Roeslani. “We hope this token of appreciation can inspire other weightlifters to achieve maximum results at two major upcoming events, the 2018 Asian Games and 2020 Tokyo Olympics.”

Irawan came second to Colombian Oscar Albeiro Figueroa Mosquera with a total of 318kg (701lb), and Agustiani placed second to Thailand’s Sopita Tanasan with a total of 187kg (412.2lb).

The world’s most populous Muslim-majority country, Indonesia’s most popular sport is badminton – they’ve won gold medals at every Olympics since it was introduced in 1992, and they’ve won the Thomas Cup, the world team championship of men’s badminton, thirteen of the twenty-six times it’s been held. The country is also a major player in the unbelievably cool, Southeast Asian sport of sepak takraw, also known as kick volleyball.

But of the thirty Olympic medals Indonesia has won, ten have been in weightlifting, their most successful event after badminton. After the country’s podium finishes in Rio, weightlifting has received a much needed publicity boost and the government appears to be interested in investing more into the sport.

While coaches have been experiencing difficulty convincing young lifters to move from their hometowns to train in the capital of Jakarta (most of the country’s weightlifters have come from the forested area of Lampung, over two hundred miles away), the rewards for young athletes are enticing: Indonesian medalists receive cash bonuses and lifetime pensions from their government.

A photo posted by @pra_bhowo on

The Indonesian Weightlifting Federation hopes to win twenty medals at the next Asian Games in 2018, fives times more than their last showing. Here’s hoping they perform at their best and help to lift the sport’s profile in the region.

Featured image via the International Weightlifting Federation.

Nick English

Nick English

Nick is a content producer and journalist with over seven years’ experience reporting on four continents. His first articles about health were on a cholera outbreak in rural Kenya while he was reporting for a French humanitarian organization. His next writing job was covering the nightlife scene in Shanghai. He’s written on a lot of things.

After Shanghai, he went on to produce a radio documentary about bodybuilding in Australia before finishing his Master’s degrees in Journalism and International Relations and heading to New York City. Here, he’s been writing on health full time for more than five years for outlets like BarBend, Men's Health, VICE, and Popular Science.

No fan of writing in the third person, Nick’s passion for health stems from an interest in self improvement: How do we reach our potential?

Questions like these took him through a lot of different areas of health and fitness like gymnastics, vegetarianism, kettlebell training, fasting, CrossFit, Paleo, and so on, until he realized (or decided) that strength training fit best with the ideas of continuous, measurable self improvement.

At BarBend his writing focuses a little more on nutrition and long-form content with a heaping dose of strength training. His underlying belief is in the middle path: you don’t have to count every calorie and complete every workout in order to benefit from a healthy lifestyle and a stronger body. Plus, big traps are cool.

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