I wish all athletes success, and may God bless our endeavor
Jakarta (ANTARA) - Minister of Youth and Sports Zainudin Amali on Saturday has officiated a virtual send-off ceremony for Indonesia's contingent for the 2020 Summer Paralympics in Tokyo.

"I, Zainudin Amali, the Minister of Youth and Sports, officiate the Indonesian contingent for the 2020 Summer Paralympics in Tokyo," Amali said in a ceremony held virtually from the Youth and Sports Ministry office in Jakarta.

"I wish all athletes success, and may God bless our endeavor," he remarked.

In his address, the minister encouraged athletes, who have earlier participated in international competitions and have undergone intensive training since October 2020, to put in their best efforts for the Paralympics.

"You have spent a long time preparing yourselves for the Paralympics. I admitted the pandemic might restrict your training, but all countries in the world experienced the same issue, therefore, you should not feel left behind by other athletes," he remarked.

Amali described the Paralympic athletes as sports heroes and reminded them that they will be competing for Indonesia and not just representing their families or the National Paralympic Committee (NPC) at the Paralympics.

"As our sports hero, you should have an unyielding spirit to fight till the utmost of your ability. I believe your skill is the best in your respective fields," the minister said.

At the ceremony, Indonesia Paralympic squad's Chef de Mission, Andi Herman, said the nation's contingent comprises 60 people, including 23 athletes from seven different fields who will be accompanied by 16 coaches and officials, six members of the Chef de Mission, eight members of the supporting team, and seven officials from the Indonesian Embassy in Tokyo.

This will be the eleventh time Indonesia will participate in the Summer Paralympics. Since joining the 1976 Summer Paralympics in Montreal, Canada, Indonesia has only skipped the event once in 1992, when it was held in Barcelona and Madrid, Spain, he said.

Despite the pandemic, Indonesia had continued its preparations for the Paralympics by organizing training for athletes in Surakarta, Central Java from October 2020 until August 2021, he informed.

Besides the intensive training, the NPC had also encouraged athletes to participate in international competitions and test events to allow them to gain more experience and qualification points, he added.

This year's Indonesian contingent is targeting to bag one gold and one silver medal in badminton, and three bronze medals each in para-powerlifting, table tennis, and para-athletics, Herman disclosed. The target is based on a thorough calculation and evaluation of athletes' skills, he added.

"The Paralympics would help athletes to gain more experience, and we could assess competitors' play to improve our training strategy for the next Paralympics when we get back home," Herman remarked.

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Translator: M Ramdan, Nabil Ihsan
Editor: Sri Haryati
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