Jakarta (ANTARA) - The 735-member strong contingent of Jakarta for the PON XX National Games had departed for Papua to compete in the games on October 2-15, 2021.

As the home of top-notch athletes and major sporting figures in Indonesia, Jakarta is confident to call one of the nation’s best pencak silat athletes, Puspa Arumsari, to join the Jakarta contingent at the PON National Games and put in her best efforts for the province she represents.

Arumsari, born on March 10, 1993, will represent Jakarta in the women’s singles artistic (non-combat) pencak silat match at the multi-sport quadrennial national games.

Pencak silat is a native Indonesian martial art form incorporating strikes, grappling, and throwing skills. Pencak silat sometimes employs weaponry despite the martial art mostly being played with bare hands. The martial art has been recognized as a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity from Indonesia by UNESCO in 2019.

Preparing for future victories

Arumsari forayed into pencak silat at the age of 10 when she was studying in 5th grade in elementary school. At that time, her older sibling, who was a pencak silat coach, invited her to join the pencak silat extra-curricular activities after the end of her school.

Enchanted by the beauty of pencak silat, she began to immerse herself and spend more time training in martial arts. Her parents' encouragement motivated her even further to follow her passion in pencak silat. She soon recorded her first-ever victory in a pencak silat match held at her elementary school.

Despite her love for pencak silat, she never overlooked her education as she continued her studies at a high school specialized for young athletes in Ragunan, South Jakarta. After completing her school there, she continued her education by enrolling for doing majors in graphic design at the Jakarta State Polytechnic and graduated in 2014.

Arumsari is known by her family as being a determined and persistent child, who was often tomboyish. She is also known as being a disciplined person, nurtured by her past persistence to continue practicing pencak silat after the school ended for the day even until 10 p.m. when she had to wake up early on the following day to prepare for her school day.

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Recording brilliant accolades

After her first victory in a match at her elementary school, Arumsari continues to garner more accolades in pencak silat, thereby reflecting her passion and persistence in martial arts that had begun to bear fruits.

While she was only 14 years of age, she won a gold medal in her debut during a national competition at the 2007 UNJ Open, a national-level pencak silat competition hosted by the Jakarta State University (UNJ).

Following her victory in the UNJ Open, Arumsari was called by the Jakarta pencak silat team to join the province’s team in the national competitions.

She also delivered good performances in the two PON Games, as she bagged the silver medal in her PON Games debut in 2012 and achieved top ranking in the 2016 PON Games when she won the gold medal.

Her gold medal victory in the 2016 PON Games left the deepest impression, Arumsari stated. During the pencak silat final match at the games, she faced an unusually boisterous audience and an unexplained disturbance. Despite those issues, she was able to overcome the pressure with the coach's support and her self-determination, and her West Java competitor in the final match was denied the gold medal.

She was named a senior athlete by fellow pencak silat athletes on account of her experience and achievement in the two earlier PON National Games in 2012 and 2016.

Apart from her experience and accolades in national competitions, Arumsari also recorded an equally brilliant achievement in several international pencak silat competitions.

She won the women’s singles artistic gold medal in the 2016 Pencak Silat World Championship in Denpasar, Bali.

She also touched the highest point in the pencak silat women’s singles artistic discipline in the 2018 Asian Games by recording 467 points, higher than her competitors: Singapore's Nurzuhairah Yazid, who recorded 445 points, and the Filipina Cherry Regalado, with 444 points.

Arumsari continued her trailblazing performance in the 2019 SEA Games when she bagged the women’s singles artistic gold medal after securing 467 points in the match, defeating home athlete Mary Padios, who won the silver medal by pocketing 454 points, and Anisah Abdullah, who won the bronze medal after attaining 451 points. Her gold medal was Indonesia’s eighth in the 2019 SEA Games.

In addition to those achievements, Arumsari had won gold medals in two PON Qualifications in 2012 and 2015, 2014 Asean University Games, 2014 Pencak Silat National Competition, and 2019 Belgium Open.

She also bagged four silver medals in the 2012 PON Games, 2015 Malaysia Open, 2015 Pencak Silat World Championship, and 2019 World Martial Arts Mastership. The only bronze medal she won was in the 2017 SEA Games.

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Translator: Roy Bachtiar, Nabil Ihsan
Editor: Sri Haryati
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