SPORTS AND RECREATION
Many traditional games are played throughout the Indonesian islands. Boat racing and kite flying are very popular on most of the islands. Cockfighting is usually associated with the men of Bali, while the Madurese hold annual bull races after the harvest season. Stone jumping is a sport in Nias. This game involves leaping over a stone wall about 1.5 metres high and about half a meter wide. Young men who play this game sometimes jump over the wall with a sword in their hand. Stone jumping was originally used to train warriors to jump over enemy walls.

A favourite sport is sepak takraw. Two teams try to keep a rattan ball in the air with their feet. Pencak silat is a martial art, similar to karate, practised by young men and women. Almost all Indonesians play the game of congklak, usually during family gatherings. It is played with a wooden board on which are small depressions. Players use shells or pebbles to play the game

Badminton and tennis are popular throughout Indonesia. Indonesians are long-standing winners of the Thomas Cup men's division and the women's championship for badminton. Rudy Hartono, a legendary badminton player in Indonesia, won the "All-England" Informal World Championship seven years in a row. Soccer is another popular sport. Although corporations sponsor professional soccer teams, players are not paid to be full-time professional athletes. Instead they are hired as employees of the corporation and play sports as well.




   Did you know?
The Scouts in Indonesia are called Pramuka. Boys and girls may belong to the same scout pack. Pramuka members, like the Scouts, learn camping skills and ways to survive in the wilderness.
The Indonesian tennis team has won many regional trophies. Ellyas Pical is an Indonesian boxer who is internationally renowned. Running is another sport that has recently become popular. The Bali 10-kilometre Paradise Run attracts competitors from around the world.

The Indonesian government encourages "Sport for All." Every year, on September 9, a National Sports Day is held for participants from across the country. This event took place in Indonesia even before it was an independent nation and has become a symbol of unity. The government also sponsors Karang Taruna, an organization for young people between the ages of 10 and 25. Local leaders organize sports and social activities for members in their area.

   Did you know?
The Indonesian women's archery team won the country's first Olympic medal at the 1988 Games in Seoul. It was the country's first medal since it began taking part in the Games in 1952 and was celebrated throughout Indonesia.