"Allow me to introduce myself, my name is Rahmad Adi," he said breaking into another smile.
At first look, people may not believe his "Spiderman-like" ability to climb walls quickly and furiously: He can reach the top of a 15-meter-high wall in just 5.26 seconds.
In fact, Mulyono, who was born in Surabaya on October 3, 2000, won a gold medal at the Climbing World Championships in the speed discipline.
At the online "IFSC Connected Speed Knockout 2020" championship, he managed to hit 5.77 seconds, eliminating Italian athletes.
The victory came from a deep interest in the sport, he remarked. He said he had nursed an interest in rock climbing since elementary school and one reason for this was that it was an extreme sport.
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However, he said his family members did not support his ambition since they wanted his younger brother to be a rock-climbing athlete.
"Once I wanted to compete, but I was not taken there. I was being underestimated. But I proved (them wrong) by training hard to get a name at the junior level," he added in his strong Javanese accent.
Since then, he said he has been motivated to prove himself to his family and colleagues.
Some of his junior-level successes have ranged from a bronze medal at a local championship, a gold medal in a regional championship, to a silver medal in a national championship.
In addition to preparing for the National Sports Week (PON) 2020, Mulyono, an alumnus of Surabaya's August 17, 1945 High School is training for the 2022 Asian Games in China and the 2024 Olympics in Paris, France.
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Aiming for PON gold
In the upcoming PON, Mulyono is aiming to bring home two golds in the speed discipline in the individual and team class.
He said his competitors will be hard to beat because the strength of the country's rock-climbing athletes is almost even, but he will remain focused in the arena.
"Rivals will be tough to surpass. But I want to prove to everyone and bring the name of East Java into the scene," he stressed.
"It is also my debut at PON. I want to give my best by performing as much as possible," he added.
The East Java Team for PON is aiming to become the common champions in rock climbing by winning five out of the total 16 gold medals.
Chairman of the East Java provincial board of the Indonesian Rock Climbing Federation (FPTI), Danu Iswara, is optimistic that the goal can be achieved, saying that currently, the strength of athletes from regions is evenly distributed.
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"It is just who is focused on the game. We have prepared everything, including the mentality of athletes who will compete in the midst of the pandemic," Iswara remarked.
The East Java rock climbing team comprises seven women and eight men athletes, and is accompanied by four coaches.
The rock climbing sport will be contested in Mimika district, and the East Java team is scheduled to depart for the venue on September 22, 2021.
East Java's Flagship
The National Sports Committee (KONI) of East Java is hoping the team will achieve the common champion title in the PON 2020 in Papua, despite the small preparation budget.
East Java KONI's daily chairman Muhammad Nabil said that gold medals in rock climbing have become a given for the team.
"We are confident in the strength of the athletes. A lot of preparations have been made, including simulations and serious training," he added.
The total PON gold medals targeted by East Java KONI are 120.
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Another reason for the 120-medal target is to repeat the team's achievements in the 2016 PON XIX in West Java, when East Java had placed second.
Although the competition will be tough, Nabil said he is optimistic that East Java will be able to achieve its goals because its athletes have been training hard for the last four years at the Regional Training Center (Puslatda).
The COVID-19 pandemic greatly impacted the process, but the athletes are expected to have maintained their fitness levels and not allowed years of training to go to waste, he added.
"Do not let the long-prepared training to no end, like health problems during the match. We hope it does not happen and all athletes are ready to fight," Nabil, who is also head of the East Java Puslatda, remarked.
Another challenge in PON, he added, has been the absence of matches prior to the event due to the pandemic, so the athletes have not had the opportunity to test their opponents' strength.
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The Papua PON XX National Games will be held in four regions or clusters—Jayapura city, Jayapura district, Merauke district, and Mimika district.
After registrations ended, the total number of participating athletes reached 6,144. Combined with the 922 host athletes, the total figure stands at 7,066 athletes.
Overall, they will compete in 37 sports branches, 56 sports disciplines, and 679 matches.
East Java Governor Khofifah Indar Parawansa has advised athletes competing in PON XX Papua to integrate with the local community.
"Make sure to socialize with the people of Papua," Parawansa said at Grahadi State Building, Surabaya.
The East Java Governor claimed to have a close bond with the people of Papua.
Therefore, she said she also hoped that athletes, coaches, and officials from the East Java contingent would not forget the relationship with the Papuan people while competing against them.
"East Java has always been in conjunction with Papua. Although we have different cultures, languages, and traditions, we unite," Parawansa affirmed.
She also asked the East Java contingent to reach the highest accomplishments and meet their common champion target.
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One rock-climbing athlete that Mulyono may go up against is Veddriq Leonardo of West Kalimantan.
Leonardo recently won the IFSC Climbing World Cup 2021 in the United States. He said PON is offering the same atmosphere as global competitions.
"My opponents at PON are also world champion athletes. For sure, I will remain optimistic and give my best," Leonardo remarked.
The 2018 Asian Games gold-medalist in rock climbing, Aries Susanti Rahayu of Central Java, also affirmed that she will try to do her best at PON XX.
"Every athlete wants gold. I have never won a gold medal in PON. I will work hard for Central Java province and for Indonesian rock climbing," she said.
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