Jakarta (ANTARA) - President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) has reiterated support for the development of athletics from the school level so that potential talents can be trained further by the Indonesian Athletics Association (PASI).

"I am glad for the initiative of the PASI. We must start the training from the school-age level and regional competitions, and from there, we can see potential talents," he said after observing the men's and women's 4x100 meters relay final of the Indonesian Student Athletics Championships (SAC) at Senayan Madya Stadium here on Friday.

Athletics is the basis of all sports, and PASI initiatives must be continued to advance national athletics sports, he added.

"We understand that athletics is the mother of sports. Without speed, a footballer will lose, and futsal and long jump also need athletics. All of the basics are on athletics. Hence, I appreciate what the PASI has done. I commend the efforts to nurture from the early level," he said.

He also lauded supporters who were present at the final to motivate their friends to compete. The President also spent some time greeting and shaking hands with young supporters.

"I am glad that all of you are here to support your friends. I believe that this initiative must not be on PASI alone, but must be started from the basic level, either in the village or hamlet levels," he said.

Meanwhile, Coordinating Minister of Maritime Affairs and Investment, Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, who is also PASI’s executive board chairperson, said that all athletes must begin at the starting level.

While disclosing that a total of 31 thousand participants from 9 cities participated in the competition, Pandjaitan said he expected to scout 20 potential talents from the event.

"We are not focusing merely on the sports, but also to realize unity and joy. This year, we will organize a greater event in more cities to seek more potential athletes at the basic level," he added.

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Translator: Desca Lidya N, Nabil Ihsan
Editor: Sri Haryati
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