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Jakarta Post

Indonesia supports Olympics postponement, vows to focus on athletes' training

  • Dicky Christanto Wulandaru
    Dicky Christanto Wulandaru

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Wed, March 25, 2020   /   10:23 am
Indonesia supports Olympics postponement, vows to focus on athletes' training A person wearing a protective face mask walks past a screen showing a countdown to the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games and Paralympic Games in Japan on Tuesday. (Reuters/Issei Kato)

Youth and Sports Minister Zainudin Amali said Indonesia has pledged to fully support the latest decision jointly made by Japan’s Premier Shinzo Abe and the International Olympics Committee (IOC) chief Thomas Bach to postpone the 2020 Tokyo Olympics until next year.

“It was a wise and timely decision, given the current health crisis that would not allow us to move on with the sporting agenda. Everyone’s health should remain our top priority,” he told The Jakarta Post on Tuesday.

According to the statement, the Olympics will be held simultaneously with the Paralympics.

A group of Indonesian athletes had made the cut for the Tokyo Olympics in February, just as COVID-19 was spreading across the world. They were track and field prodigy Lalu Muhammad Zohri, weightlifters Eko Yuli Irawan and Windy Cantika Aisah, archers Riau Ega Agatha and Diananda Choirunissa and shooter Vidya Rafika Rahmatan Thoyyiba.

In badminton, these shuttlers have passed Olympic qualifications based on their world ranking: All England mixed doubles winners Praveen Jordan and Melati Daeva Oktavianti, world number one men’s doubles pair Kevin Sanjaya Sukomujo and Marcus Fernaldi Gideon, men’s doubles pair Mohamad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan, women’s doubles pair Greysia Polii and Apriyani Rahayu, as well as singles players Anthony Sinisuka Ginting, Jonatan Christie and Gregoria Mariska Tunjung.

As for the Indonesian athletes who are still hoping to secure a spot in the world’s biggest sporting event, Zainudin went on, the government had decided to continue their training.

“Only this time, training will focus on maintaining their health and fitness. This will look different from the kind of training they used to have in order to compete,” he added.

Regarding the effect of the postponement, Zainudin assured that the athletes would understand the situation and continue their training.

“This was a force majeure situation; it’s beyond our control.”

The government earlier stated that it would follow whatever recommendation was made by relevant authorities regarding the Olympics. Only Canada and Australia officially announced they would not be sending their athletes to the Summer Games due to the global pandemic just a few days before the official IOC decision.

Earlier in the year, the Philippines decided to postpone the ASEAN Para Games indefinitely because of the coronavirus outbreak.