"We are proud to be in Papua and to be in the best stadium in the Asia Pacific. We are proud to open the first PON to be held in Papua," he remarked.
Wearing a Papua PON jacket, the President greeted the audience at the stadium in the local language "Huwe foi (good evening), onomi rehmay, wa wa wa, greetings to sports".
The greeting was cheered by the audience, which was limited to 25 percent of the stadium's total capacity of 40 thousand.
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"This PON is showing the progress of Papua, showing the readiness of infrastructure in Papua and the readiness of the Papuan people to organize big events to excel in the national and international arena," Widodo said.
Papua PON has great meaning for all Indonesian people, he added.
"PON is a place for unity, togetherness, equality, and justice to the greater and better Indonesia," he remarked.
Meanwhile, Papua's progress is not only reflected in the Lukas Enembe Stadium but also in its sea, land, and air connectivity.
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"Airports, ports, highways, and the development of Papuan human resources are the other achievements of Papua's progress," the President said.
The head of state then invited Papuan youth to continue to cultivate and develop their accomplishments in various fields.
"The achievements of Papuan athletes such as Lisa Rumbewas, Serafi Anelies Unani, and Franklin Ramses Burumi in athletics, and Boaz Solossa in football must be followed by other Papuan youths," he said.
He also said that musical and cultural creativity, such as the songs "Cuma Saya" by M.A.C and "Jangan Ganggu" from Shine of Black, should be followed by excellent works by Papua's young generation.
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"Let us celebrate this PON with joy, always uphold sportsmanship, strengthen brotherhood, togetherness, equality, and national unity. Papua's progress, in general, will escalate and let us show our help and participation to ensure the success of this 20th PON," he remarked.
As many as 7,066 athletes—4,176 male athletes and 2,890 female athletes—across Indonesia are participating in the PON, which will end on October 15, 2021.
According to the head of the sport event's validity team, Soedarmo, athletes from 34 provinces are competing in 37 sports, 56 disciplines, and 679 matches in PON.
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