The History Of The Bung Karno Madya Stadium: Formerly Known As Toto Greyhound, Dog Racing Arena
The Bung Karno Madya Stadium, has a history as a dog racing arena in the 1970s. (Wikipedia)

JAKARTA - The construction of the Gelora Bung Karno (GBK) sports complex is a monumental historical event. The presence of GBK is able to realize Indonesia's dream of having the most complete sports facilities. Also a variety of stadiums are present in it.

Madya Stadium, one of them. The stadium is often used for all kinds of sporting events. However, the Madya Stadium was actually popular as a dog racing arena in the 1970s. The practice was successful because the dog racing arena was able to contribute a large amount of revenue to DKI Jakarta's treasury.

The celebration of the Asian Games IV is a place for Indonesia to show off. Preparations were taken seriously in 1958-1962. The Indonesian president who was also the great leader of the revolution, Sukarno, intervened. He wants the capital to be transformed into a center for large and luxurious sports activities.

The Bung Karno Madya Stadium when it was still functioned as a dog racing arena. (Jakarta Tourism)

His involvement was not half-hearted. Bung Karno immediately went to find a representative location for the Asia Games. Menteng, Rawamangun, and Bendungan Hilir were once the location options for the largest sports complex in Indonesia. Considerations are still being made. Soekarno finally crossed out everything and instead chose a new strategic location: Senayan.

The selection of Senayan was not without consideration. Big Brother has thought it through. According to him, the construction of a sports complex in Senayan completes the narrative of the Jakarta development triangle package. The package includes: the State Palace as the center of government, Senayan as a sports center, and the western part of Senayan as a political space.

Regarding funds, Soekarno did not bother. His friendship with the leader of the Soviet Union, Nikita Khrushchev became a mainstay. Khrushchev immediately gave Indonesia a soft loan with interest that could be paid in the long term. Not only that. Khruschchev also provided other assistance. A number of engineers and technicians from the Soviet Union were sent to Indonesia. The magnificent sports complex, named Gelora Bung Karno, was completed in 1962.

It was the Governor of DKI Jakarta from 1966 to 1977, Ali Sadikin who allowed the Gelora Bung Karno area to be used as a dog racing gambling arena. (National Library)

“The close bilateral relationship is also reflected in other fields. In 1962, the Soviet Union gave scholarships to Indonesian students. It was recorded that around 700 Indonesian students studied at various universities in the Red Bear Country. A number of Navy officers studied in Vladivostok and Leningrad.”

"In addition, the cooperation in the construction of the Cilegon steel factory, the Friendship Hospital, Gelora Bung Karno, and the Farmer Statue all prove how solid the cooperation between the two countries was at that time," said Tomi Lebang in the historical book Sahabat Lama, New Era: 60 Years. The Ups and Downs of Indonesia-Russia Relations (2010).

Dog Race

The presence of the GBK sports complex brings a new spirit to Indonesia. All sporting events – even politics – are often held at GBK. The many sports facilities are used optimally to increase the interest of the Indonesian people towards sports. Even after Soekarno stepped down. The echo of the GBK sports complex remains famous thanks to the concern of the New Order government (Orba).

The inheritance was properly guarded by Orba. Moreover, Indonesian sports reached their peak of glory during the Soeharto era. The world of Southeast Asian sports has been conquered by Indonesia many times. This achievement has made GBK busy being used as a forum for forming athletes. However, sometimes the GBK complex is used as an entertainment center. For example, the entertainment event held at the GBK Madya Stadium.

The stadium was originally intended as a training center for soccer and athletics warm-up. Sometimes it is also used as the main venue for hockey matches. A series of agendas was able to absorb the interest of the people of Jakarta. But not in terms of generating revenue for the regional treasury.

The Governor of DKI Jakarta, Ali Sadikin (1966-1977) then made a strategy. His promise to legalize gambling made him allow Madya Stadium to be used as a dog racing arena (dog racing) in 1973. This permit made Madya Stadium crowded with all Jakartans.

The Gelora Bung Karno Intermediate Stadium when used as the opening arena for the Asian disability sports party, the 2018 Asian Paragames. (Kominfo)

“While we allow night clubs and massage parlors to open considering the need, we also hold entertainment venues such as dog races, horse races, Hai Lai for the more wealthy layers. Yes, I have to think about different walks of life. But I don't leave people who are economically weak."

"Meanwhile, night clubs, other amusement centers I carry out intensive supervision, I open New Year's celebrations and Jakarta Anniversary as wide as possible, so that the whole community can enjoy them. I have taken a policy to seek the development of places of entertainment and recreation in all its forms, types, and levels,” said Ali Sadikin as written by Ramadhan KH in the book Bang Ali: Demi Jakarta 1966-1977 (1992).

As a result, Madya Stadium is also known as Toto Greyhound. A name that takes the breed of dog in competition. The match was widely watched by the capital's middle class. The rules of the competition are simple. In each round, followed by six dogs. Visitors can also bet on choosing the favorite dog to win according to its back number.

The bet does not only apply to those who watch live. Those who do not watch live can participate in betting by buying coupons. Purchases can be made throughout Jakarta. Because, the place to buy coupons reaches 9 thousand agents. Gambling is making the Jakarta government's treasury fat. The profit is approximately IDR 3 billion per year.

Dog racing was banned when it entered in the 1980s. Even so, the popularity of Madya Stadium as a dog racing track has never faded. The proof is that the film from the comedy group Warkop DKI (Dono, Kasino, Indro) entitled Opportunity in Keempitan (1985), proves the narrative of the famous dog racing arena.

Southeast Asia's fastest sprinter Lalu Muhammad Zohri trains at the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium Senayan track in 2019. (ANTARA/Muhammad Adimaja)

Arizal's film contains a scene showing the figure of Kasino who is asking a painter's address for an address. At that time the Casino wanted to Green Gems. Then, the person carefully explained and made directions on the hood of the Casino car. One of the benchmarks given is a dog racing arena.

"It's easy, sir, get out, you take the Semanggi bridge, at the end turn right. To Grogol you know? Then in front of the MPR Building roundabout to the left, continue to the shooting range roundabout, pass the TV first (TVRI) to the left, then in front of the dog racing area turn right, just enter until you arrive," said the painter, in a dialogue that alluded to the history of the Bung Karno Madya Stadium as a former dog racing arena.

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