Having been implanted in a value of achievement, Auriel Valentcia Febryn Sutardja and Wilbert Dietriech Sutardja tell Aulia R. Sungkar their courage to bring the name of Indonesia to the international stage of ice-skating.
They have only been intensively skating for less than three years, but both Auriel and Wilbert have collected dozens of gold medals. “I actually had started practicing the ice-skating at the age of two, but I quit the following year and got back to the rink when I was seven,” Auriel says. “We both started to get in practice a couple of years ago. I was five at that time,” Wilbert adds.
Seeing a competition at the ice skating rink at Taman Anggrek Mall has made Auriel come back to the rink. She acknowledges that the competition inspired her to get a grip on hitting the ice, saying it has ever since become her dream to be the ice-skating champion.
Auriel’s motivation to gear up for ice-skating was in line with what her younger brother Wilbert thought of commencing the sports. “What inspired me to skate was my future dream of becoming an athlete so I could earn a scholarship to enter an esteemed overseas university. That way I could take on my future academic responsibility without burdening my parents with all the expenses,” Wilbert reminisces.
Despite their different reasons on why they chose ice-skating as their main sportss activity, the two have taken the rough to the smooth, paving the way for winning a number of national and international competitions.
It wasn’t easy in the beginning, but both Auriel and Wilbert stick to the belief that perseverance in the end will triumph. The two siblings’ performance was strikingly impressive during the 10th Annual International I.S.I. (Ice-Skating Institute) in Jakarta in April 2007 where Auriel grabbed 6 gold and 2 silver medals while 5 gold and 3 silver ones were accomplished by Wilbert.
The year of 2007 indeed marked the dawn of their journey of achievement. Not only did each of them win six gold medals at the December competition at Istana Plaza Sky Rink, Bandung. But more importantly, their participation at the International Skate Asia in Manila, the Philippine during the months of July and August added more medal collection where each brought home more than six gold medals after days of competing with participants from Indonesia and countries like the U.S., Australia, the Philippines and Singapore.
“In addition to being one of the largest international ice-skating competitions in Asia, 2007 Skate Asia was the most spectacular venue we first engaged abroad,” Auriel says proudly. “And both of us have hitherto participated in more international competitions such as the one we last partook at 2008 Skate Asia in Kuala Lumpur from August 9 to 16 this year,” Wilbert adds.
Earned 7 gold, 2 silver and 1 bronze medals, Auriel broke the record during the Kuala Lumpur competition; being the Indonesian ice-skater winning the most gold medals. “While I was happy with the 5 gold and 3 silver medals,” Wilbert says grinningly. “But we were even, as each of us triumphed 5 gold medals at the 11th Annual International I.S.I. (Ice-Skating Institute) in April 2008 here in Jakarta,” Auriel says while gesturing that it is too early to say who’s the better one. “We still have a long way to go in order to become a world-champion.”
The children of Yuliasiane Sulistiyawati and Hartanto Sutardja do not seem to be afraid of challenge. In spite of their young ages, both Auriel and Wilbert have seen challenge as a means of bettering their skills.
Undoubtedly the role of their parents is of great importance in supporting Auriel and Wilbert getting down to the rink. “If it hadn’t been the idea from my parents, we wouldn’t have been trained by world champion skaters,” Wilbert remarks. Right after last Lebaran break, both siblings spent their two-week vacation honing their ice-skating skills at World Ice Arena in Shenzhen, China. “That’s where we were trained by two world-champion skaters; the Olympic winning Dennis Petrove of Russia and Chen Lu of China. They are the butterfly on the ice,” Auriel amazes.
To enhance their skill more, the two are leaving for more international practice in Sydney Australia. They are scheduled to have a two-week training by Frank Dong Fu, a renowned Chinese-born Australian coach from December 21 to January 7 at Liverpool Ice Rink and Canterbury Ice Rink, respectively, Yuliasiane says.
“One of the main reasons why we support our children to skate is the challenge they face in accomplishment. I don’t measure by how many gold medals they collect, but how the activity shapes their character toward gearing up for competitiveness is worth more,” Hartanto says of which his wife agrees, “We now live in the era of globalization whereby the competitiveness includes in our daily routine. So I believe that supporting children into getting involved in a sports activity will get them invaluable lesson that they don’t get from school, though I still put their school foremost.”
Auriel and Wilbert, the Grade 4 and 2 students of Singapore International School, Pantai Indah Kapuk (PIK), respectively say persistence is always in their dictionary not only in the rink, but also at school. While Wilbert have shown his excellent grade in Math, Auriel is proud of being the recipient of Principal Award for her outstanding academic performance due to her highest average mark at school.
Being the rising stars in the rink have remained them in a sort of linking to their favourite subject, Physical Education. “But we like others, too such as Math and English,” Wilbert asserts. “And I like music as I regularly take the piano lesson at Trinity Music,” Auriel adds. “And we both are also the horse riders!” the two siblings exclaims in delight, citing that they take the horse riding program at Arthayasa Stables.
Asked what they want to be when they grow up, both Auriel and Wilbert admit that it’s too early to express their future career dream as the two realize that they have to go through another more decade of academic study. In terms of their pursuit on the ice-skating, nonetheless, they seem to have the confidence in a way that going international carrying the flag of Indonesia is what they aim.
“We are thinking of expanding our global vision as we both are eying for world-class competition. The 2009 Recreational Team Championship in San Jose, California is what we are planning to participate,” Auriel affirms.
According to Robert Esguerra, the Filipino head coach at the Jakarta Sky Rink who regularly teach Auriel and Wilbert, “In the realm of ice-skating, it is still far for Indonesia to compete with other nations like the Philippines, especially China. But looking at how my students have got themselves down to the nitty-gritty when it comes to practicing in the rink, I would say that there is great potential that Indonesia will move to the next level of game.”
Published in Tatler Bambini, special edition, January 2009.