Bogor, W Java (ANTARA) - Papua again enjoys Indonesia's media spotlight as it will host the 16th National Para Games (Peparnas) on November 2-15 following its great success in convening the 20th National Games (PON) on October 2-15.

Unlike PON, which featured 37 events taking place in Jayapura City and the districts of Jayapura, Mimika, and Merauke, the Peparnas is only co-hosted by Jayapura City and Jayapura District, and features 12 events.

If PON was joined by at least 6,400 athletes and 3,500 officials from 34 provinces across Indonesia, the Peparnas will just be participated in by 1,935 athletes and 740 officials from all provinces.

The athletes will compete in weightlifting, Celebral Palsy football, judo, badminton, athletics, chess, shooting, swimming, archery, boccia, table tennis, and wheelchair tennis to secure medals for their provinces.

One of the athletes competing in Papua's para games is Leani Ratri Oktila, Indonesia's para badminton player who secured two gold medals, and one silver medals in the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.

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Various provinces have prepared the departure of their athletes for Papua. Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan, for instance, had flagged off the capital city's contingent at the Ragunan Sports Center's Plaza Amphiteater on October 29.

At the event, he asked the 190-member Jakarta contingent to maintain solidity of the team by helping and supporting one another among the bearers of Jakarta's coat of arms.

The Jakarta contingent should also set a target and strive to achieve it, Anies Baswedan said while urging the participating athletes to work hard and make Jakarta proud.

The National Paralympic Committee (NPC)-Jakarta Office has set a target of securing the top 10 position in the para games medal table. However, Governor Baswedan said he hopes that the Jakarta contingent will be in the top five in the medal tally.

Jakarta's contingent for the Papua para games comprises 97 athletes, 48 coaches/athletes, 4 special needs attendants, and 41 support staff.

Meanwhile, North Sumatra's National Paralympic Committee sends 66 athletes who will compete in athletics, table tennis, chess, weightlifting, badminton, judo, wheelchair tennis, archery, and shooting.

According to NPC-North Sumatra Office Head Alan Sastra Ginting, his athletes have well been prepared for Papua's para games to enable North Sumatra to maintain its achievement in West Java's para games in 2016.

North Sumatra's endeavors to repeat its achievement in West Java five years ago may be uneasy as South Kalimantan, for instance, has set a target of gaining 20 gold medals in swimming alone.

The swimming instructor for NPC-South Kalimantan Office, Zuhriannor said recently that he had prepared 25 best swimmers for securing the 20 gold medals. In West Java's para games, South Kalimantan gained 16 gold medals.

"Our athletes have been ready for departing for Papua to compete and win the games. Our swimmers will leave on November 2," he added.

Regarding the convening of Papua's para games, Youth and Sports Minister Zainudin Amali has expressed confidence that the event would run in secure and safe manner.

The Indonesian police, military, and State Intelligence Agency (BIN) have been making their utmost efforts to secure and safeguard the convening of the multisport event as they had successfully done during PON, he said.

Apart from Amali's confidence, National Police Chief General Listyo Sigit Prabowo has asked police and military (TNI) personnel in Papua to remain alert, citing the likelihood of an escalation in separatist terrorists' activities towards the end of the year.

"Ahead of this year-end, local issues potentially escalate," he noted while issuing directives to police and military personnel during a roll call in Timika, Mimika District, Papua Province, on October 22, 2021.

As a result, security disturbances may rise owing to the increased intensity of the armed Papuan groups' activities, he said at the roll call which was also attended by TNI Commander Air Chief Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto.

As part of precautionary measures, maintaining security awareness and alertness is indispensable, as was done during the convening of Papua's National Games (PON), Prabowo said.

"Please remain cautious until this year-end. Our recent success (in securing PON) made us proud. But, do not be caught off guard because there are tasks that we must carry out," he added.

During the roll call, held at the Raider 20/IJK Infantry Brigade Headquarters in Timika, Prabowo also thanked all police and TNI personnel involved in securing and safeguarding the convening of PON.

Co-hosted by Jayapura city and the districts of Jayapura, Mimika, and Merauke in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the multi-sport event was strategic for Indonesia and Papua.

The event convincingly demonstrated to Indonesians and the international community that Papua is safe and secure, and, therefore, is ready to host large-scale events, Prabowo remarked.

"These all can have happened due to the hard works of TNI, police, and various elements of society," he said.

Prabowo also touched upon how both police and TNI managed to stop criminal groups seeking to disrupt Papua's PON. As a result, the event ran in a safe and secure manner, Prabowo said.

The hard works of TNI, police, and various elements of society are again expected to ensure that the 16th National Para Games can be convened in a secure and safe manner as the 20th PON.

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Editor: Sri Haryati
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