"We have prepared ourselves -- both mentally and physically -- to fight at the XX Papua PON," she said after training at the Seruni Stadium, Cilegon city, Banten province on last Sunday.
A gold medal would only be achieved through tireless hard work since the competition in the heptathlon sport is very tight and the participants are evenly matched, she added.
The heptathlon, which comprises 100-meter hurdles, high jump, shot put, 200-m race, long jump, javelin throw, as well as 800-m race, will be contested for the first time at the XX Papua PON. Six provincial contingents are slated to participate in the event.
According to Hasanah, readiness and maturity have to be maximized to have superior and reliable skills while competing in the event. She said she is aiming to deliver her best performance as well as pocket a gold medal for Banten province at the PON.
She further said the sport is quite difficult, therefore, she is focusing on honing her technical skills.
"We are optimistic to give our best to gain any achievements at the national sporting event," she added.
Although this will be her first time participating in PON, Hasanah has earned many laurels at the provincial and national levels.
The athlete – who was born on February 24, 2000 -- won five gold medals at the 2018 Banten Provincial Sports Week (Porprov), two gold medals in the Jakarta Oven event, as well as one silver in the 2019 Bogor Pre-PON.
"We are confident that we can beat our opponents in the competitions – repeating our achievement at the Jakarta Oven of winning gold medals," the fifth-semester sports major at the Rangkasbitung College of Teacher Training and Education added.
Hasanah – who hails from Lebak district -- said that she has prepared an effective strategy to defeat her opponents in the heptathlon, especially considering that she and the other athletes are evenly matched.
She said she is preparing to face them and win gold through optimum practice every day.
She has even noted her opponents' weaknesses and become familiar with their tactics while competing together in previous tournaments.
"We just have to play the right strategy to defeat them," Hasanah – who is the eldest of five siblings -- remarked.
Ready to fight
Meanwhile, Hasanah's coach Endang Ekalaya said that she is ready to fight as she has prepared herself well through various coaching and training programs to win the gold medal at XX Papua PON.
The coaching and training programs were running optimally under the implementation of strict health protocols even in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, he added.
In fact, Hasanah’s performance has improved according to the results of her training at the Seruni Stadium, Cilegon city, he said.
Her performance is considered extraordinary as she is excelling in the 100-meter hurdles, 200-m race, 800-m race, javelin throw, and long jump, Ekalaya said.
With that advantage, the coach said Hasanah will be able to achieve the gold medal at the national sporting event.
He said he is currently prioritizing her health, which must be maintained so that Hasanah can give a better performance.
Participants’ interest in the heptathlon sport at the XX Papua PON is still relatively small since it will be the first time the sport will be contested at the national event, he noted.
Out of the 34 provinces in Indonesia, athletes from only six provinces have registered for the sport -- Banten, Central Java, Bangka Belitung, West Sumatra, Lampung, and East Java, he said.
Although Hanasah has a huge opportunity to win a gold medal, Ekalaya said that he does not want to burden her.
"We hope that Hasanah can give her best performance to win the competition," he added.
Becoming the top 10
Deputy chairman of the Banten Provincial Sports Committee, Engkos Kosasih, said the contingent is targeting to finish in the top ten in the final medal standings at the XX Papua PON.
The target is higher than the achievement of the contingent at the 2016 West Java PON, he added. At that time, Banten was ranked 13 out of 34 provinces.
In order to realize the target, the committee made various preparations but they were hampered by the COVID-19 pandemic, he revealed.
Fortunately, Banten has many outstanding athletes -- both at national and international levels -- in various branches, comprising weightlifting, bodybuilding, athletics, badminton, hang gliding, wrestling, judo, karate, sailing, Muaythai, archery, rock climbing, paragliding, and gliding, he said.
"We expect our contingent to win 24 gold medals and be among the top ten," Kosasih remarked.
However, he emphasized that the Banten contingent should remain prepared for tight and competitive performances from the contingents from West Java, East Java, Central Java, Lampung, and Jakarta since their athletes are known to be superior in various branches.
The athletes sent by Banten province to the national sporting event were those who made it to the top three at the Pre-PON, he noted, adding that he is optimistic that the athletes would be able to make a lot of achievements at the XX Papua PON.
Banten is sending 261 athletes, comprising 194 male athletes and 67 female athletes, to the XX Papua PON, he informed.
They will participate in 37 out of the 56 sports branches featured in XX Papua PON.
"The Deputy Governor of Banten has promised to give bonuses to athletes who excel in XX Papua PON -- while the amount has not been announced," Kosasih said.
Meanwhile, Deputy Governor of Banten, Andika Hazrumy, said he is optimistic that the Banten contingent will rank in the top ten at the national sporting event.
"Insya Allah (if God wills), we will be in the top 10. We humbly ask the people of Banten to also pray for our contingent’s success," he said while dispatching the contingent at the Banten Governor's Hall, Serang on September 9, 2021.
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