Sports in Indonesia

Hello everyone,

The Olympic Games are now just a few days away and we would like to talk about sports.

What sports are the most popular and/or unusual in Indonesia?

Are sports facilities easily accessible there? Where and how can one find sports clubs in the region?

Are there sports events regularly held in the country?

And you? What is your favourite sport? Which one(s) do you practice in Indonesia?

Thank you in advance,


Nice topic Priscilla.

Indonesia is well known as being one of the top badminton countries in the world; occasionally they have been world champions. However, other countries that rank at the top include China, South Korea, Malaysia and Denmark and I believe the top team at the moment is China. Badminton is played all over Indonesia and you can find badminton courts and clubs pretty much everywhere.

As far as liking football, Indonesia is no different to most other countries in the world. Although their national team never amounts to much, they remain as fanatical about football as anyone else.

Indonesia is world renowned as a top surfing destination, having some of the best and most technically difficult waves to ride anywhere. Top surfing spots can be found allover Indonesia such as Nias in Sumatra, Grajagan (also known as G-Land) in East Java and Padang Padang in Bali to name but a few. In the early 1980’s I covered some surfing contests in Bali and wrote articles about Bali for a surfing magazine and interviewed some well known Balinese surfers like Ketut Menda, Made Kasim and Wayan Gantiyasa. These were the local heroes back in those days.

Of course, badminton and surfing contests are held in Indonesia regularly. Badminton is also a top sport in much of Asia and whenever the Thomas & Uber Cups were held in Malaysia I would be there with my wife supporting the Indonesian team.

As far my own sporting interests, I very much followed in my father’s footsteps. At school I played cricket, swam freestyle and did cross-country running for my school teams. Since I was about 14 years old I was a surfing fanatic. I’d spend long summers in Cornwall in the UK surfing and camping with my buddies. In those days we’d dream of surfing in places like Bali, South Africa and Mexico. I remained a fanatic of surfing until I reached about 50 years old and now no longer surf.

At university I played cricket, badminton and squash for the university teams and I attended the Alf Gover Cricket School in London. My father coached me in all of these sports. As a teenager, I played cricket for different local clubs as an all-rounder and opening bowler, my best figures being 8 wickets for 34 runs. My heroes were a former South African named Basil D’Oliveira and a Yorkshireman called Geoff Boycott who were both remarkable cricketers.

After university I moved to Singapore and learned waterskiing. I trained with the Singapore team in the early 1980’s and entered the Singapore Open twice in the Slalom event. Most weekends and many weekdays were spent waterskiing with friends.

Often holidaying in Thailand, I learned to scuba dive and windsurf. But it was only later when I lived again in the UK that I joined a windsurfing club and raced. Mostly I used F2 equipment but also a New Waves short board for wave jumping when surfing conditions were not good. I also windsurfed a lot in Hong Kong in Discovery Bay where I lived, until some Tiger Shark attacks put me off. I stopped windsurfing when I moved from Malaysia to Indonesia last year.

Previously I lived in France for 7 years, mostly in Biarritz which is not only one of the best surfing locations in Europe, but also an hours drive to the ski slopes in the Pyrenees. For seven years I skied every winter either in the Alpes or in the Pyrenees in Southern France and Andorra.

Participating in sport is one of the greatest pleasures in life and I strongly believe that being a sportsman tells a lot about a person’s character. But there comes a time when the joints and back can no longer take so much abuse. I’ve had two knee operations and a slipped disc operation in the past 15 years. Many of my friends who are more actively involved in sports have ended up with hip and knee replacements, so I count myself lucky. So these days I remain a mere spectator and of course do my daily walks in the vicinity of my home and have my weekly massages and thankfully my body feels pretty good these days.


Most students I know play one of the most popular 6 sports here; Tennis, Badminton, Basket (basketball), Volley (volleyball), Soccer and futsal (indoor 5 a side football). Soccer is an American word so I don't understand it.

In Jakarta there are limited green fields on which to visit let alone kick a ball on but there are a lot of Futsal courts. The nearest green fields to me are always full on a Sunday with football teams and because they belong to the military an mobile missile launcher (just in case). Schools pretty much focus on these sports only with running and softball as well and anything else is done privately or I am not aware of. Larger more expensive private international schools such as BIS offer Rugby and a wider range of sports for the students but again it is limited.

There are a lot of pool halls if you know where to look and there is plenty of 'sport' to be found inside.

A favourite hobby of many is swimming, although most are scared of swimming in the sea for fear of sharks and ladies in green (another well know superstition) but all public pools and apartment pools are over full on weekends.

Homegrown sports include bull racing, archery and dragon boating but I am sure there are more than that. There used to horseracing in the city but that has been stopped. The football has overly violent fans and its not that great to watch.

The main stadium in Jakarta is known as Gelora Bung Karna and it is in Senayan. It is home to football and you can run or walk around it anytime of the day but are not allowed in. Outside the stadium there are places for martial arts and a few other sports.

There is now also a big change to running activities such as Marathons and Tri Athletic activities across the country as well as cycling events and races.

Then there is the gym but that's another post for another day

Ladies and Gentlemen,

My name is Wilfred Schultz, and, apart from running a tax and accounting practice, I am also quite involved in the cricket scene in Jakarta; in this capacity, I am very keen to hear from people that have an interest in cricket, particularly as players , but also as spectators.

Many of you may be unaware that there is a very keenly contested cricket competition in Jakarta, organized by the Jakarta Cricket Association, involving 17 teams (in two divisions), with cricket being played every weekend. There is also an active development programme in place that is administered by the Indonesian Cricket Association (Persatuan Cricket Indonesia), as well as a junior cricket coaching programme for school students, that is just about to commence again. 

The most regularly used cricket grounds are at Cibubur and Kemayoran (the Ghandi Memorial School).  If you wish to play and/or watch and/or umpire, please do give me a call on xxx. Looking forward to hearing from you,

Wilfred Schultz

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