Lenny Tristia Tambun, Jakarta – Indonesian Sea Games medalists received up to Rp 500 million ($34,000) each in state bonuses although the country was ranked third overall behind host Vietnam and Thailand in the biennial event held last month.
The Indonesian contingent comprised 499 athletes, in comparison to 840 athletes the country sent to the previous Philippine Games.
However, the country improved one step higher in the overall medal standings after finishing outside of the top three in four previous events.
When symbolically handed the financial bonuses at the State Palace on Monday, President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo praised SEA Games athletes for the fact that 82 percent of them, including those in team sports, returned home with medals.
"I'm very proud and pleased because 408 of all 499 athletes that we sent to the 31st SEA Games in Vietnam have managed to win medals," Jokowi said.
"We didn't send as many athletes as in the previous Games but they delivered a better result," he added.
The Indonesian contingent grabbed 69 gold medals, 91 silver medals, and 81 bronze medals in Vietnam. In comparison, the host country won 205 gold medals and Thailand clinched 92.
Indonesia last won the SEA Games when it hosted the multi-sporting event in 2011.
The government allocated Rp 162.5 billion ($11 million) for financial bonuses for athletes, coaches, and other members of the contingent, the president said.