Sport in Indonesia

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2018 Asian Games opening ceremony in Jakarta.

Sports in Indonesia are popular from both the participation and spectating aspect. Some popular sports in Indonesia are football, volleyball, basketball, badminton, and the native Indonesian martial art pencak silat.[1] Badminton is arguably Indonesia's most successful sport. Indonesia has won gold medals in badminton in every Olympic Games since the sport was first introduced to the Olympics in 1992, with the exception of the 2012 Summer Olympics. Indonesia regularly participates in the Thomas Cup, Uber Cup, and Sudirman Cup badminton championships. Indonesia also regularly participates in regional multi-events sport, such as the Southeast Asian Games, Asian Games, and Olympic Games. Indonesia is one of the major sport powerhouses in the Southeast Asian region, winning the Southeast Asian Games 10 times since 1977.

Sporting events in Indonesia are organised by the Indonesian National Sport Committee (Komite Olahraga Nasional Indonesia or KONI). The organisation, along with the Indonesian government, have set the National Sports Day on 9 September.[1] Indonesia hosts the Pekan Olahraga Nasional multi-sport event every four years. Athletes from all provinces of Indonesia participate in this event, with hosting tally are distributed among Indonesian provinces.


Nias' "leaping the stones" ritual.
Pacu jawi, traditional bull race of Tanah Datar, West Sumatra.

In traditional Indonesian culture, there is no actual concept for physical exercise as the counterpart of modern sport. Native Indonesians usually linked the physical activities to tribal practices; mainly for ritual, art, physical fitness and martial purposes. The war dances and ritual combat among Indonesian tribes are the earliest example of ritualised physical exercise in Indonesia. Some of native Indonesian rituals are resembling sport, such as lompat batu (leaping the stone) tradition among Nias male youth as part of coming of age ritual, that resembles hurdling and long jump in athletics. Also Madurese karapan sapi and Minang pacu jawi (bull racing) that are similar to chariot race. Dragon boat, canoe and kayak race are virtually everyday activities among Indonesians that lives on the bank of major rivers or on distant islands.

In the 9th century the images of archery, described as princely court activities among nobility in ancient Java, can be found on bas-reliefs of Javanese candis. Archery is suggested as one of Indonesia's classical sport, and one of its famous rendering came from Prambanan temple as part of Ramayana story and later rendered as one of the icon of the Jakarta's 1962 Asian Games, also as the symbol of Gelora Bung Karno Stadium.

Pencak silat is the example of Indonesian native martial art that turned into competitive combat sport. Several Indonesian dances demonstrated repetitive movements that similar to physical exercise. Indonesian traditional social dances such as poco-poco dance from North Sulawesi and sajojo from Papua are adopted as senam kesegaran jasmani (musical calisthenics) today popular across Indonesia.

The modern concept of sport was introduced during colonial Dutch East Indies period. During these times football and badminton has reached Indonesia and become popular sport among Indonesian people ever since. After Indonesian independence, National Sports Committee of Indonesia was established in 1946 to unite the various satellite sports associations that was created within the regencies, then sports facilities were constructed in Indonesia, such as Ikada Stadium (1951—1962). During Sukarno reign, there is a desire to utilise sport as the means for uniting Indonesian people, establishing national pride as well as promoting sports in Indonesia. As the result the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium surrounded by sporting complex facilities were constructed in 1962 to host the fourth Asian Games held in Jakarta. Today in international stage, Indonesia is successful in badminton and also has been one of the major multi-event sports powerhouse in Southeast Asia.

Popular Sports[edit]

Many sports were imported, some were developed from native Indonesian traditional sports and became popular in Indonesia.


There is a significant competitive video game scene in Indonesia, with eSports tournaments for mobile games such as Vainglory being held in Jakarta.[2] The 2018 Asian Games, held in Indonesia, included a demonstration event for Esports.[3]


Football has become one of the most popular sports in Indonesia since the country's independence, even though it had virtually no presence in the country before then. in Indonesia, this phenomenon is most often ascribed to general worldwide popularity of the sport, which carried over into Indonesia following its rapid urbanization. It is played widely, both professionally and as recreation. Indonesia Super League, the Indonesian domestic league is popular. Some of the major teams include: Persib Bandung, Persebaya Surabaya, PSM Makassar, PSMS Medan, Persija Jakarta, PSIS Semarang, Sriwijaya FC, Persipura Jayapura, Bali United and Arema Malang. The national body is the Football Association of Indonesia (PSSI).

The Indonesian football league started around 1930 in the Dutch colonial era. In 1993, PSSI combined the existing 2 amateur competitions to be a single professional competition for football clubs, known as the Indonesian Football League (Liga Indonesia). Starting from 2008-09 season onwards, the competition format changed into a more common system that also being used in most European football leagues. The name also changed into Indonesia Super League.

On the international stage, Indonesia experienced limited success despite being the first Asian team to qualify for the FIFA World Cup in 1938 as Dutch East Indies. In 1956, the football team played in the Olympics and played a hard-fought draw against USSR. On the continent level, Indonesia won the bronze medal once in football in the 1958 Asian Games. Indonesia's first appearance in Asian Cup was back in 1996. The Indonesian national team has always qualified for the Asian Cup in 2000, 2004 and 2007 AFC Asian Cup, however unable to move through next stage. Indonesia will host the 2021 FIFA U-20 World Cup after being awarded the competition over the South American countries of Brazil and Peru; the Indonesia Under-20 football team automatically qualified for the 2021 tournament as host.


Taufik Hidayat, 2004 Olympic gold medalist in badminton men's singles.

Badminton is Indonesia's most successful sport, described by the New York Times as "part of the national identity".[4] Indonesia has won gold medals in badminton in every Olympic Games since the sport was first introduced to the Olympics in 1992, except in 2012. In 1992, it came from Alan Budikusuma in men's singles, and Susi Susanti in women's singles. In 1996, Ricky Subagja and Rexy Mainaky got the gold medal in men's doubles. In 2000, Candra Wijaya and Tony Gunawan won the gold medal in men's doubles. In 2004, Taufik Hidayat won a gold medal in men's singles. In 2008, Indonesia won a gold medal through men's doubles, Markis Kido and Hendra Setiawan. In 2016, Indonesia won a gold medal through mixed doubles, Liliyana Natsir and Tontowi Ahmad, In 2020, Indonesia won a gold medal through women doubles, Greysia Polii and Apriyani Rahayu.

Indonesian badminton athletes have played in various international badminton tournaments in Indonesia, China, Korea, Denmark, Malaysia, Japan, England and many other tournaments, including Summer Olympics ever since the sport was introduced as a demonstration sport in the 1972 Summer Olympics and its official introduction in the 1992 Summer Olympics. Rudy Hartono is an Indonesian legendary badminton player, who has succeeded to win All England titles seven times in a row.[5]

Out of all participating nations, Indonesia won the most games in the Thomas Cup (Men Nations Badminton Championship), winning 14 out of 24. In addition to that, Indonesia won the Uber Cup 3 times. (Women Nations Badminton Championship). and Won Sudirman Cup 1 Times. (Mixed Nations Badminton Championship). also held its own international badminton tournament, the most prestigious is Indonesia Open that has been held annually since 1982.


Basketball is one of the most popular sports especially among Indonesian youth. Liga Bola Basket Nasional is the pre-eminent men's basketball league in Indonesia, competed by 10 clubs across the country. The competition started as Indonesian Basketball League (IBL) in 2003. In 2010, Perbasi appointed DBL Indonesia to handle the competition and changed the league's name to National Basketball League (NBL).[6]

Today, Indonesia and the Philippines are the major basketball powerhouses in Southeast Asia. The Indonesia national basketball team's biggest success has been gold at the 1996 Southeast Asian Basketball Championship.

Indonesia will host the official 2021 Asian Basketball Championship and most notably, the country will co-host the 2023 Basketball World Cup, together with the Philippines and Japan.[7] Although lately basketball has been proven as the most famous sport. Even their national team were able to be invited to several competitions. Several matches will be played in Jakarta.

Additionally, a whole basketball league is dedicated to junior and senior students throughout Indonesia. This league is called DBL, which stands for Development Basketball League.

Pencak silat[edit]

Pencak Silat, an Indonesian martial art.

Silat is an Indonesian native martial art, and pencak silat is an umbrella term for the indigenous martial arts created in Indonesia.[8] The leading organisation of pencak silat in Indonesia is IPSI (Ikatan Pencak silat Indonesia meaning Organization for Indonesian pencak silat). The liaison body for international pencak silat is the International Pencak Silat Association or PERSILAT (Persekutuan Pencak Silat Antara Bangsa). There is many perguruan (schools) and styles of pencak silat in Indonesia.

Pencak silat has become one of sporting event in Pekan Olahraga Nasional and Southeast Asian Games with Indonesia as appear as one of the leading force in this sport. This martial art sport is also popular in Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.


Indonesia host some international road cycling tours; such as the annual Tour d'Indonesia, Tour de Singkarak and Tour de East Java. Inspired by European Tour de France, these tours is one of the esteemed cycling event in Southeast Asian region and has attracted local as well as foreign cycling teams. Tour d'Indonesia usually started in Jakarta, across inland Java all the way eastward to Bali, while Tour de Singkarak is held in West Sumatra touring around Lake Singkarak. In track cycling numbers, Indonesia is also one of the strongest in the region and often won gold medals in Southeast Asia Games. Indonesia have world class velodromes in Rawamangun, Jakarta; and Kutai Kartanegara, East Kalimantan, hailed as one of the best velodrome in Southeast Asia.[9]

For non-athlete common Indonesians, riding bicycle is considered as the mode of transportation as well as a recreational and leisure sport. It is quite popular in Indonesia, especially during Car-Free Days in several cities. During weekends, especially around Saturday and Sunday morning, cyclist flocking Jakarta's main avenue such as Jalan Thamrin and Jalan Sudirman that is closed from cars, municipal authorities invited locals to have their sports and activities on the street. The Bike-to-Work community was established in Indonesia in 2005 to promote cycling as a cheap, healthy, and environment friendly mode of transportation to the workplace.

Extreme cycling, such as Mountain biking and urban Freestyle BMX is also popular among youth in main cities of Indonesia.


Boxing is a popular combative sport spectacle in Indonesia. Some famous Indonesian boxers include Ellyas Pical, three times IBF Super flyweight champion; Nico Thomas, Muhammad Rachman, and Chris John.[10]

Sepak takraw[edit]

Sepak takraw spread from China to the Indonesian archipelago, the game is believed to have evolved from cuju, a game similar to association football that was used as military training.[11] In Indonesia, Sepak Takraw is also known as Sepak Raga in the local language in Indonesia. In Sulawesi, the traditional Bugis football game is called "Raga" (the player is called "Pa'Raga"). Some of the men playing the "Raga" circle in a group, the ball is passed from one to the other and the man who kicks the highest ball is the winner. "Raga" is also played for fun by demonstrating several tricks, such as kicking the ball and placing it on the player's head with the handle of the tengkolok bugis (Bugis headgear similar to a Malay tanjak).[12][13]

After Sepak takraw was developed into modern competitive sport in 1940s with exact rules and scoring systems, Indonesia has become one of major sepak takraw power in the region, competing against Thailand and Malaysian teams.


Surfing in Indonesia is a small minority sport, we can find the most popular Indonesian surfers at Pangandaran, Banyuwangi, Lombok, and Bali. The most famous surfer from Indonesia right now is Dede Suryana.[14]

Sports leagues in Indonesia[edit]


SEA Games 2011 opening ceremony in Palembang, South Sumatra.

The Pekan Olahraga Nasional (National Sports Week) are held every four years. Indonesia also participates in international sporting events such as the Olympic Games (see Indonesia at the Olympics). the Asian Games and the South East Asian Games (SEA Games). 2018 Asian Games was held at Jakarta, Palembang, and some other venues in the provinces of West Java and Banten.

Hosted Games[edit]

Year Event Host City Nations Start Date End Date Top Placed Team
1962 Asian Games Jakarta 17 24 August 4 September Japan Japan
2018 Asian Games Jakarta - Palembang 45 18 August 2 September China China
1986 FESPIC Games Surakarta 19 31 August 7 September Australia Australia
2018 Asian Para Games Jakarta 43 6 October 13 October China China
2008 Asian Beach Games Bali 41 18 October 26 October Indonesia Indonesia
2013 Islamic Solidarity Games Palembang 57 22 September 1 October Indonesia Indonesia
2025 Islamic Solidarity Games Bandung TBD TBD TBD
1979 Southeast Asian Games Jakarta 7 21 September 30 September Indonesia Indonesia
1987 Southeast Asian Games Jakarta 8 9 September 20 September Indonesia Indonesia
1997 Southeast Asian Games Jakarta 10 11 October 19 October Indonesia Indonesia
2011 Southeast Asian Games Jakarta - Palembang 11 11 November 22 November Indonesia Indonesia
2011 ASEAN Para Games Surakarta 11 15 December 20 December Thailand Thailand
1982 ASEAN University Games Jakarta 6 no data no data Indonesia Indonesia
1990 ASEAN University Games Bandung 6 no data no data Indonesia Indonesia
2004 ASEAN University Games Surabaya 10 5 December 12 December Thailand Thailand
2014 ASEAN University Games Palembang 11 11 December 21 December Indonesia Indonesia
2012 ASEAN School Games Surabaya 7 28 June 6 July Thailand Thailand
2019 ASEAN School Games Semarang 10 17 July 25 July Indonesia Indonesia

All time medal count[edit]

Event Appearances Gold Silver Bronze Total Best Rank
Summer Olympic Games 16 8 14 15 37 24th
Summer Youth Olympic Games 3 0 0 3 3 80th
Summer Paralympic Games 11 6 7 14 27
Summer Deaflympic Games 3 0 1 3 4 37th
Summer Special Olympics[15] 8 56 42 26 124
Winter Special Olympics 3 3 4 4 11
IBSA World Games 1 0 0 1 1 41st
INAS Global Games 2 2 2 1 5
Summer Universiade 30 3 3 14 20 20th
Winter Universiade 1 0 0 0 0
World Games 10 3 1 7 11
Military World Games 7 0 1 3 4
World Combat Games 2 2 0 2 4 33th
World Martial Arts Masterships 2 4 16 13 33 12th
World Beach Games 1 0 0 1 1 31st
Games of the New Emerging Forces* 2 21 25 35 81 4th
Islamic Solidarity Games 3 43 64 59 166 1st
Afro-Asian Games 1 0 2 1 3 25th
Pan Arab Games 1 0 0 0 0
Women's Islamic Games 2 24 20 6 50 3rd
Asian Games 18 91 120 235 446 2nd
Asian Winter Games 1 0 0 0 0
Asian Para Games 3 47 63 74 184 5th
Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games 6 17 17 43 77 7th
Asian Beach Games 6 42 28 53 123 1st
FESPIC Games* 9 83 114 98 295 2nd
Far Eastern Championship Games 1 0 0 0 0
Asian Youth Games 2 1 2 3 6 15th
Asian Youth Para Games 3 36 23 23 82 6th
FESPIC Youth Games 1 0 2 1 3 13th
Southeast Asian Games 22 1,824 1,703 1,780 5,307 1st
ASEAN Para Games 9 527 418 333 1,278 1st
ASEAN University Games* 19 688 1st
ASEAN School Games 11 268 319 284 871 1st
Arafura Games* 11 31 38 51 120
  • For ASEAN University Games, Arafura Games, Games of the New Emerging Forces, and FESPIC Games data is not complete.
  • at the Pan Arab Games Indonesia is a invitational country.
  • As 2021

Hosted Tournaments[edit]

Year Event Host City Nations Start Date End Date Top Placed Team
1961 Thomas Cup Jakarta Indonesia Indonesia
1975 Uber Cup Jakarta 6 June Indonesia Indonesia
1980 IBF World Championships Jakarta 27 May 1 June Indonesia Indonesia
1986 Thomas & Uber Cup Jakarta 22 April 4 May China China (men)
China China (women)
1988 Asian Basketball Club Championship Jakarta 27 May 1 June Philippines Swift-PABL
1989 Sudirman Cup Jakarta 24 May 29 May Indonesia Indonesia
1990 Asia-Oceania Korfball Championship Jakarta Chinese Taipei Chinese Taipei
1993 ABC Championship Jakarta China China
1994 Thomas & Uber Cup Jakarta Indonesia Indonesia (men)
Indonesia Indonesia (women)
1995 World Archery Championships Jakarta United States United States
1996 SEABA Championship Surabaya Indonesia Indonesia
2007 AFC Asian Cup Jakarta 16 Iraq Iraq
2009 Asian Cycling Championships Tenggarong China China
2010 AFF Championship Jakarta Malaysia Malaysia
2011 SEABA Championship Jakarta Philippines Philippines
2013 AFF U-19 Youth Championship Sidoarjo and Gresik Indonesia Indonesia
2014 SEABA Cup Batam Singapore Singapore
2015 BWF World Championships Jakarta 10 August 16 August China China
2015 World Wushu Championships Jakarta 14 November 18 November China China
2016 World Pencak Silat Championships Denpasar Indonesia Indonesia
2017 Asian Men's Volleyball Championship Gresik Japan Japan
2017 BWF World Junior Championships Yogyakarta Indonesia Indonesia
2018 Asian Men's Softball Championship Jakarta Japan Japan
2018 AFF Women's Championship Palembang Thailand Thailand
2018 AFF U-16 Youth Championship Sidoarjo and Gresik Indonesia Indonesia
2018 AFF Futsal Club Championship Yogyakarta Thailand Bangkok BTS FC
2018 AFC Futsal Club Championship Yogyakarta Iran Mes Sungun
2018 AFC U-19 Championship Greater Jakarta Saudi Arabia Saudi Arabia
2019 Asian Women's Softball Championship Jakarta Japan Japan
2019 Asian Table Tennis Championships Yogyakarta China China
2019 IFSC Climbing Asian Championships Bogor Indonesia Indonesia
2019 QubicaAMF Bowling World Cup Palembang South Africa South Africa (men)
Australia Australia (women)
2021 BWF World Tour Finals Badung South Korea South Korea
2022 FIBA Asia Cup
2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup Jakarta*
2023 FIFA U-20 World Cup

Indonesia Seven Summits Expedition[edit]

On 8 July 2011 08:35am local time four Indonesian students have reached the peak of the Mount McKinley. So, the mission to scale all of the Seven Summits in Indonesia Seven Summits Expedition have been accomplished. All of the four students are the first Indonesians getting the title of the Seven Summiteers.[16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Sports and Recreation". Archived from the original on 5 February 2006.
  2. ^ "Indonesia's eSports scene heats up with Vainglory tournament in Jakarta". Digital News Asia. 25 August 2017. Archived from the original on 27 November 2019. Retrieved 16 February 2018.
  3. ^ Duerden, John (16 August 2018). "Pencak silat and eSports: a guide to the most fascinating 2018 Asian Games events". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 16 August 2018. Retrieved 20 February 2019.
  4. ^ Hill, James (7 August 2020). "When You Say Badminton, You Say Indonesia". The New York Times. Retrieved 4 September 2020.
  5. ^ "A- FIRSTS". 2 December 2008. Archived from the original on 2 December 2008.
  6. ^ "IBL Becomes NBL" (in Indonesian). NBL Indonesia. 2010. Retrieved 30 May 2010.
  7. ^ Nancy Gillen (20 December 2020). "Indonesia announced as host of FIBA Asia Cup in 2021". Inside the Games. Retrieved 16 July 2021.
  8. ^ Donn F. Draeger (1992). Weapons and fighting arts of Indonesia. Rutland, Vt. : Charles E. Tuttle Co. ISBN 978-0-8048-1716-5.
  9. ^ "Viva, Velodrome Terbaik Se-Asia Tenggara".
  10. ^ Widazulfia, Fahmiranti (3 May 2015). "7 Boxing World Champions from Indonesia" (in Indonesian). Good News from Indonesia. Archived from the original on 8 July 2015. Retrieved 8 July 2015.
  11. ^ "History of Football - The Origins". FIFA. Archived from the original on 28 October 2017. Retrieved 7 July 2021.
  12. ^ "History of Sepak takraw - The Origins". Retrieved 7 July 2021.
  13. ^ "Sepak Takraw yang Diperebutkan Indonesia, Malaysia, dan Thailand". Retrieved 7 July 2021.
  14. ^ "TOP 5 INDONESIA SURFER ASIAN SURFING CHAMPION (ASC)". Retrieved 27 July 2018.
  15. ^ "Special Olympics Indonesia". Special Olympics Indonesia. Retrieved 23 July 2019.
  16. ^ Post, The Jakarta. "Indonesian climbers accomplish mission over Seven Summits".

External links[edit]