Jakarta (ANTARA) - Preparations for this year's quadrennial national sports event, the 21st National Sports Week (PON) Aceh-North Sumatra, have almost reached completion, according to Youth and Sports Minister Dito Ariotedjo.

"Overall, the preparations are well done. I think we only need to take some more minor steps prior to the holding of the event," he noted in the Youth and Sports Ministry's statement received in Jakarta on Saturday.

While chairing a PON preparation coordination meeting in Medan, North Sumatra Province, on Friday (May 17), Ariotedjo observed that the province is ready to co-host the national event but still needs to speed up some technical and non-technical preparations.

The minister also affirmed that the 21st PON would be held as initially planned on September 8-20, dismissing rumours about postponement circulating in the public.

"It should be noted that this year's PON will be the first to take place in two provinces. Hence, adaptation is required. There will be no postponement, as both North Sumatra and Aceh have been showing cohesiveness and progress," he stated.

During the meeting, Ariotedjo also spoke about the plan to organize the National Paralympics Week (Peparnas).

"It (Peparnas) has been under discussion. We will highlight it during a meeting with Mr. President (Joko Widodo). We will take necessary steps posthaste," he said.

Meanwhile, Acting North Sumatra Governor Hassanudin expressed optimism about his province becoming a successful co-host and participant of the upcoming PON.

"We would like to thank Mr. Minister for his presence here and his support for our preparations for PON. As a co-host, we surely hope for a successful and smooth running event," he remarked.

During the 21st PON, Aceh will host 33 sports branches involving 5,636 athletes and 2,572 officials. Meanwhile, North Sumatra will accommodate 34 sports branches, with 6,281 athletes and 3,140 officials participating.

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Translator: Aloysius L, Tegar Nurfitra
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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