The Jakarta Post
Social Affairs Minister Juliari Batubara has said he supports the idea of launching a bid for Indonesia to host the Special Olympics World Summer Games, arguing that a sign of a developed country could be measured through its experience in hosting major sporting events.
“The government will support this idea. We need to go all out in order to make this dream come true,” Juliari, former Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) treasurer, said during the virtual ceremony of Special Olympics Indonesia’s 31th anniversary, held on Sunday.
Special Olympics Indonesia, which is affiliated with the Washington-based Special Olympics, is now led by Warsito Ellwein. It aims to promote sport among those with intellectual disabilities so they can live healthier and happier lives.
Juliari said his ministry would provide all athletes the same opportunity to showcase their talents at all levels.
Speaking at the same event, Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo, who spoke as a member of Special Olympics Indonesia’s advisory council, recalled how proud he was when he represented the Indonesian government in handing over trophies to winning athletes during last year’s Summer Games.
“There was no other way to describe my feelings back then, other than being proud,” he said.
He said all the training and sporting events that had been tailored for these athletes gave them the opportunity to express themselves within the realm of sport.
The Summer Games, last organized in Abu Dhabi in 2019, is the ultimate arena for athletes around the world. Indonesia sent 75 athletes with disabilities last year and secured 11 gold medals, six silvers and seven bronzes. The next Summer Games will be organized by Berlin in 2023.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all athletes must train at their respective houses and follow their coaches’ instructions online.