Bogor, W Java (ANTARA News) - The Indonesian Independence Day had been celebrated at home and abroad on Friday.

This time, the celebration seems to be special because it is held a day before the official opening of the 18th Asian Games takes place at the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium in Jakarta on Saturday evening.

The commemoration of the 73rd anniversary of the country`s independence looks more special thanks to a brave act of heroism of a teenager coming from small village, which is more than 3,000 kilometers away from the Indonesian capital city, Jakarta.

The 14-year-old boy`s name is Yohanis Gama Marschal Lau. Residing in Halimuti Hamlet of Silawan Village, Belu District, East Nusa Tenggara Province, he has shown a brave act of heroism at the Red-and-White flag raising ceremony at his village on Friday.

Popularly called Joni by the people who know him well, he spontaneously came to the flag pole after realizing that the flag-hoisting team members got difficulties in raising the Red-and-White due to improper position of the rope on top of the pole.

According to reports of local media and a video on his bravery and act of heroism, which went viral on Youtube and other social media platforms, he released his shoes and spontaneously climbed till the top of the the flag-pole.

No one had ordered him to take the brave act of heroism that could actually risk his life.

Instead of surrendering to the calls of those persuading him to go down, Joni continued his climb to reach the top and improved the rope`s position to enable the flag hoisting team members to raise the national flag.

What motivated him to do so was his want to see the Red-and-White hoist on Motaain Beach. His spontaneous and brave act of heroism is widely praised by the people-at-large.

Sports and Youth Minister Imam Nahrawi had even invited him to Jakarta. Accompanied by his parents, Viktor Lino Fahik Marsal and Lorensa Gama, Joni met Nahrawi on Saturday.

"Joni has shown us an extraordinary commitment. He has sacrificed everything he has for the sake of our national flag, the Red-and-White," Imam Nahrawi said adding that he promised to invite Joni to watch one of the Asian Games` sport events.

Joni, currently a Year-7 student of SMPN Silawan (public junior high school), has also been pledged a scholarship scheme by the state-own electricity company, PLN.

Indonesian Military (TNI) Commander Marshall Hadi Tjahjanto also offers him a scholarship scheme, which is given until he graduates from senior high school.

"Military Chief Marshall Hadi Tjahjanto provides the scholarship to appreciate Joni`s bravery and act of heroism that has enabled the national flag to be hoisted on Friday," TNI Spokesman Maj.Gen.Sabrar Fadhilah said.

After his graduation from his senior high school, he would be given a priority for being recruited as a TNI soldier if he wanted to join the Indonesian Defense Forces.

Joni was also invited to attend the 18th Asian Games` official opening ceremony at the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium on Saturday evening, Fadhilah said.

Joni is just an ordinary boy but what he has done on the day hundreds of millions of Indonesians at home and abroad were celebrating the country`s Independence Day seems to be a strong message for the country`s athletes competing in the Asian Games.

Indonesia itself has set a target of entering the top 10 in this world`s second biggest multi-sport event after the Olympics by winning a minimum of 16 gold medals.

Co-hosted by Jakarta and Palembang, South Sumatra Province`s capital city, more than 14,000 athletes representing 45 Asian states will compete to obtain the best achievements for their respective countries.

A total of 462 events across 40 sports, of which 32 are Olympic sports, will be featured during this sport event, including Aquatics, Athletics, Fencing, Weightlifting, Basketball, Handball, Badminton, Cycling, as well as Canoeing and Kayaking.

Indonesian rower Anwar Tarra said he would provide his best performance to ensure he earns a gold medal at the 18th Asian Games.

"It is an honor for me to be part of Indonesia`s team to fight for the best achievements at the 2018 Asian Games. I, myself, will do my best to earn a gold medal."

Winning 11 medals at Myanmar`s 2013 SEA Games, Anwar Tarra said the 73rd anniversary of Indonesia`s independence provided momentum for the country`s athletes, including himself, to fight for medals at Asia`s largest multi-sport event.

"The commemoration of our Independence Day is an important moment that may boost our motivation to give Indonesia special gifts at the stages of this international sporting event," he said.

The brave act of heroism on August 17, 2018, Joni, Belu District`s teenager, is expected to boost the fighting spirit and energy of all Indonesian athletes to compete for getting the best achievements for Indonesia.

Joni has sent a clear and strong message to the Indonesian athletes competing in the 18th Asian Games that the Red-and-White flag should be raised highly on the Motherland and beyond.

Reporter: Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Fardah Assegaf
Copyright © ANTARA 2018