LENGKONG, AYOBANDUNG.COM -- New Delhi, India was chosen as the host city for the first edition of the Asian Games. The sporting event began on March 4 and ended on March 11, 1951.
A total of 489 athletes competed in the games, coming from 11 countries and participating in six sports.
Based on archives from the 1950s, young historian Dimas Wahyu Indrajaya stated that the games were actually delayed by a year. "The biggest sporting event in Asia was supposed to be scheduled for 1950, but it was delayed for a year due to preparation reasons. 11 countries participated, including Indonesia," said Dimas.
Instead of feeling disadvantaged by the delay, the Indonesian contingent turned it into an advantage and made the most of it.
The All Indonesia Athletics Association (PASI) then conducted a selection to screen Indonesian athletes who would participate in the event. The selection process was held simultaneously in Tegalega Field, Bandung, West Java, at the end of December 1950.
"More than 325 Indonesian athletes participated in the competition," said Dimas, referring to a report from the Java Bode on December 27, 1950, through an article titled "Inter Indon. Athleteik-wedstrijden Geeindigd".
Several athletes from various categories became the best, including Annie Salamun, a representative athlete from Bandung, who dominated the women's discus throw. Her record was 26.61 meters, although according to the Star Weekly newspaper, her throwing range reached 31.16 meters.
"On the final day of the selection, Annie and other athletes received a trophy from the Minister of Education and Culture, Bahder Djohan. Before competing in the 1951 Asian Games held in March, Annie and the selected athletes were quarantined in Yogyakarta," continued Dimas, a graduate of History from the University of Indonesia.
Indonesia did not come out as the best in the first Asian Games. In the ranking table, the red and white team was second to last.
However, this did not mean that the Indonesian contingent returned home empty handed. There were five bronze medals won by athletes, including Annie Salamun.
According to the Sports Memories report, Annie successfully recorded a discus throw of 25.43 meters. She was in third place behind two Japanese athletes, Kuyima Fumio (42.13m) and Oshino Tokio (35.53m). (Vincencius Arwy Nullens)