Komunikasi Olah Raga

In memoriam: Singgih Gunarsa, 

a pioneering sports psychologist 

Ahmad Junaidi, The Jakara Post, Jakarta | Feature | Thu, January 15 2015, 10:53 AM




Singgih Gunarsa, one of the nation’s few experts on the psychology of sports, died in Jakarta on Jan. 6 after a long illness. He was 80.

Born in Sokaraja in Banyumas, Central Java, on Aug. 21, 1934, Singgih was one of the architects of the “golden era” of Indonesian badminton, from 1970s until the 1980s.

It was a time when Indonesia produced world-class players, such as Lim Swie King, three-time winner of the All England Open Badminton Championships; Christian Hadinata and Ade Chandra, the world doubles champions; and Ivana Lie.

Singgih received his undergraduate and doctoral degrees in psychology from the University of Indonesia (UI) in 1963 and continued his studies at the Tavistock Institute in the UK and the University of Hawaii in the US.

In 1980, he completed postdoctoral research at VU University, also known as the Free University of Amsterdam, in the Netherlands, and then returned to Indonesia and UI, where he was appointed a full professor.

Singgih — who wrote many books, including Psikologi Olahraga (Sports Psychology), published by BPK Gunung Mulia in 1972 — was also known for his expertise in developmental psychology, giving a well-received lecture titled Memandu Rangsang Lingkungan untuk Memacu Pekerbangan Anak (Guiding the Environment to Encourage Children’s Development).

The fifth son of Go Tjwan Giok and Phoa Giok Lan, Singgih wrote many articles that were published in local and international journals and was a frequent figure at conferences, both in Indonesian and abroad.

Singgih was one of the founders of the psychology faculty of Tarumanagara University (UNTAR) in Tanjung Duren, West Jakarta, beginning as a lecturer and later serving on the university’s board.

“Mental training in sports must be considered as important as physical training,” Singgih said at a conference at Untar, The Jakarta Post reported in 1999.

His dedication to education and sports led to the receipt of several accolades, including a Satya Lancana Karyasatya medal for dedicated work as a civil servant; the Adi Manggala Krida medal for his contribution to Indonesian sports; and an honorary Satya Karya medal from the Indonesian Badminton Association, where he was a board member from 1967 to 1998.

Singgih was also awarded an Anugerah Sewaka Winaroka decoration after becoming a professor emeritus at UI and UNTAR and recognized for his meritorious service to the Christian Children’s Fund in the US.

Friends and former students remembered Singgih, whose full name was Raden Singgih Dirgagunarsa Kolopaking, as modest, firm and pluralist person.

“People from diverse backgrounds, religions and cultures visited and expressed their condolences at the hospital’s funeral home,” Tarumanagara Deputy Rector Eko Harry Susanto told The Jakarta Post in the sidelines of a ceremony to honor Singgih at UNTAR before his burial on Friday.

Rostiana, the dean of UNTAR’s psychology faculty, remembered Singgih as the father of the university’s psychology program — and as her erstwhile teacher. “I first saw pak Singgih when he just completed his studies in the Netherlands. He was neat and handsome — that’s how a lecturer should be.”

Singgih is survived by his wife of almost 40 years and fellow psychologist, Yulia; and three children: Ralph, Sefanya and Natanelya Aninditya D, all of whom earned doctorates in their own fields. – See more at: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2015/01/15/in-memoriam-singgih-gunarsa-a-pioneering-sports-psychologist.html#sthash.0HncwMkK.dpuf

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