Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Youth and Sports Affairs Minister Andi Mallarangeng said his side would accelerate the construction of seven sports venues to be used in the National Sports Week (PON) in Riau province next September.

The said at the state palace on Thursday that the construction of the seven sports venues should be finished on time before President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono officially opened the sports week on September 11, 2012.

"After the Idul Fitr holidays, different works could be accelerated. So, God willing, we hope it would be finished on time. And the president will officially open the sports competition on September 11," he said.

He said a coordination meeting before the Idul Fitr holidays decided to provide assistance for the chairman of the PON executive board which was chaired by the Riu governor, particularly in preparing the seven venues.

"The regional budget for the construction of the venues has also been agreed, so that all could be used," the minister said.

He said that of the seven venues, the construction of the shooting range was the most urgent. "But we agreed to stress on its functions, meaning that equipment and other facilities should be installed soon," Andi said.

In the meantime the construction of the softball and base ball courts is almost completed. The construction of the court fields was already finished. "What remains to be done is to finish their tribunes," he said.

The Sumatran province of Riau will host the four-yearly National Sports Week (PON) XIII, which will feature 39 sports and have 598 gold medals at stake, in September.

Last month, Minister Andi visited the sports venues, including the seven sites where construction was earlier hampered due to time constraints. The minister and his entourage also inspected the baseball, softball and fencing venues.

According to PON XVII Executive Chairman for Riau Syamsurizal, the Province of Riau is now ready to organize sports week on time.

"Youths and Sports Affairs Minister Andi Malarangeng has overseen the preparations and the sports festivals can be held on time," he said last month.

The sports week will begin on September 9 and last until September 20, 2012. The opening ceremony will be held on September 11, because the President will still be in overseas until then. However, the competitions will begin on September 9.

The sports week organizers said they were optimistic that the event would be held on time, although the construction of seven venues had yet to be completed.

"We have to pay attention to the construction of the venues but the focus is on [how to obtain more] funds," Zulkifli said, adding that the unfinished seven venues were those for baseball, shooting, sepak takraw, indoor volleyball, archery, wrestling and billiards. (A014)

Editor: Kunto Wibisono
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