Indonesia’s national sports week, known as Pekan Olahraga Nasional (PON), is to be held in the October of 2021 in West Papua. This will be the 20th PON event that is held since the first one back in 1948.
Minister of Youth and Sports, Mr. Zainudin Amali, confirmed in January that the event is happening this year, as it was previously postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic spread. Now that the preparation comes as close as 90%, West Papua is ready to host the event that is usually held once every four years.
So, what to expect from PON XX Papua? Let’s take a closer look.
Say Hello to PON XX Papua’s Mascots
West Papua is home to hundreds or even thousands of fauna. It became the inspiration behind the design of the mascot: a kangaroo and a cendrawasih. Kangaroos are always dubbed as Australia’s endemic mammal, but this province has its kind of kangaroo known as tree-kangaroo, which inspired the first mascot, Kangpo.
Kangpo is wearing West Papua’s traditional attire. Its headwear depicts the peak of Mount Jayawijaya with its iconic snow. The second one is a cendrawasih, which is widely known as the bird of paradise. The cendrawasih mascot is called Drawa.
Drawa wears tasseled attire with matching headwear. The color theme on Drawa’s feather is a combination of orange, yellow, and brown that symbolizes friendship, warmth, and hospitality. Kangpo and Drawa will be seen throughout the logo and the event’s merchandise.
The Venues in West Papua
West Papua would be the first province to host the national sports week without a co-host. The event would be fully held in this province which is divided into four clusters:
- Jayapura cluster hosts 15 sports with 21 sports numbers.
- Jayapura Regency cluster hosts 14 sports with 22 sports numbers.
- Mimika cluster hosts 9 sports with 12 sports numbers.
- Merauke cluster hosts 6 sports with 6 sports numbers.
Totaling in 37 main sports and 679 sports numbers, the athletes competing in the event would come from 34 provinces of Indonesia. The numbers of the competing athlete have been confirmed, followed by the preparation for the athletes’ accommodation and transportation. There would be around 21.338 athletes coming to participate in PON XX Papua this year.
The main venue would be the Lukas Enembe Stadium which was previously known as Papua Bangkit Stadium. It was inaugurated last year and was straightly nominated as one of the best stadiums in the world, along with other stadiums from 19 countries.
Lukas Enembe Stadium has a capacity of 40,000 seats divided into three tiers. Despite the large capacity, PON XX Papua is said to be held without any audience. And if there’s any, the numbers of the audience are very limited with tight protocols of health to avoid COVID-19 spread.
The stadium’s design applied the basic structure of Honai, a West Papuan traditional house, with international standards on every facility. Other venues ready to be used are the aquatic venue, indoor and outdoor hockey field, and cricket field. West Papua is also building four temporary venues to host other numbers of sports.
The massive construction of these venues is hoped to accelerate the development of the regions around the venue and provide facilities that can be used by West Papuan even after the PON Papua is over.
When Will the Event Start?
The event is to be opened on the 2nd of October 2021 and will last for around two weeks. However, some number of sports will start as early as the 23rd of September, such as canoeing at Youtefa Bay, Softball, and water polo at the Kampung Harapan Aquatic Stadium. The first batch of athletes is arriving on the 20th of October for these games.
The closing ceremony will be held on the 15th of October but has not been confirmed yet whether it is going to be held virtually or not. Last December, there was a virtual festival as a pre-event ceremony to reveal the logo, mascots, and venues of PON XX Papua.
Hosting an event in this pandemic may not be an easy task for West Papua, especially because it is the first time a national sports event is held. To reduce the risk of the pandemic, the officials have been preparing to host the event without the audience. They have been working on a way to make the games enjoyable online through well-prepared online streaming via major platforms. They will also work with national TV channels to broadcast the games nation-wide.
With almost two years in preparation, PON in West Papua is the first national event in this COVID-19 pandemic. Watching it online may also be a new experience for sports enthusiasts and athletes. So, are you ready to show some support for your favorite teams?