Triumphant finish to his Tour de Java

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Tarwi at the Jakarta International Velodrome

IO – Incredible Tarwi. The 79-year-old former racer completed the mission to devour the 1,100 km distance from Surabaya-Jakarta – which he named Tour de Java – and he is Back. Tarwi completed the route within ten days and finished at the Jakarta Inter-national Velodrome on Saturday 26 September.

“Of the many places in Jakarta, Mr. Tarwi wants to finish here. Of course, this is an honor for us. Con-gratulations to him,” said Operations Director of PT Jakarta Propertindo (Jakpro) Muhammad Taufiqurrah-man as manager of the velodrome, when receiving Tarwi.

He then invited Tarwi and his en-tourage to come in to see first hand the splendor of the velodrome used when Indonesia hosted the 2018 Asian Games. The former gold medal-ist at the 1968 National Sports Week (PON) was also allowed to try out the velodrome track by bicycle.

“I didn’t expect the Rawamangun Velodrome where I used to train to be this great. I still remember falling there,” said Tarwi, pointing to a direc-tion on the west track.

Tarwi’s journey on the last stage, Sukabumi-Bogor-Jakarta, went smoothly because there were relative-ly few uphill roads as in the previous stage. Even if some obstacles slowed down his bicycle a little, they werecaused by the markets that occupied part of the road along the route he traveled.

In Cimanggis, Depok, he stopped for more than 30 minutes to meet his former coach, Darman. The encoun-ter between the former coach and the former protege was moving because they had not seen each other for a long time.

Previously, after finishing the sev-enth stage in Sukabumi, Tarwi also visited his close friend, former na-tional racer Hendra Gunawan alias Hendrick Brooks.

The meeting of the two national riders in the 60-70s era was filled with an intense emotional atmo-sphere. The health conditions of the two are different. Tarwi is still in good health, while Hendra is suffering from glaucoma which disturbs his vision. “I’ve been here several times. The last one, two years ago when I was taken by my child. But this is the first time I stopped by his house on a bicycle from Surabaya,” said Tarwi on his way to his friend’s house.

 “This is Tarwi. I immediately knew from your voice, ”said Hendra Gunawan as Tarwi whispered near-by, as quoted by Rolasnews.

While still holding his cane, Eki, who was born in 1941, stretched his hand towards Tarwi, who immediate-ly embraced him. Before long, tears broke out between the two.

After calming down, the two of them talked, nostalgic. When they became athletes, both of them com-peted to defend their respective re-gions. Tarwi is the mainstay of East Java and Hendra is the champion of West Java, but they are united when defending Indonesia.

Eki added that when defending the national team they did not think much about material rewards. Carry-ing the red and white Indonesian flag was already a pride beyond measure. With limited facilities, he was able to present two gold medals at the Asian Games in Jakarta in 1962. Tarwi also won the same gold medal at the Ganefo event in 1966 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

“It’s different now. In the past, we didn’t think we could get money if we won. Climbing to the podium and getting a trophy was already a tremendous joy. But athletes nowa-days make a fuss about whether to get a bonus or not even before secur-ing any achievements,” added Tarwi, confirmed by a nod from his friend.

Tarwi’s success also received appre-ciation from the bicycle manufacturer United Bike. United Bike awards one unit of United Sterling bicycle and cash.

The United Bike is a 2020 Sterling R1 Bike with a Group set of Shimano 105 11 Speed.

“Hopefully, Tarwi, who has cycled all the way from Surabaya, can in-spire the spirit of the younger genera-tion and arouse the passion of cycling among all of us,” said Henry Mulyadi, Director of United Bike. (rp)