The implementation of the National Sports Week (called PON) which was planned to be held on 9-21 September 2021 in Papua and West Papua has officially postponed to 20 October – 2 November 2020. Secretary of Minister of Sports Gatot S. Dewa Baroto said that National Sports Week 2020 will be postponed next October, according to President Joko Widodo decree. The postponement of PON implementation in Papua and West Papua considering the existing and the escalation of Covid-19 Pandemic cases in Indonesia.

The new Bankit Stadium in West Papua. Photo: PUPR

According to the Indonesian President, Joko Widodo the stadium construction is funded from the regional budget, while funding for other infrastructure being built for the event will come from the state budget. Papua Bangkit Stadium cost Rp 1.3 trillion (vt10 billion). With a seating capacity of 40,000, it will be the largest in eastern Indonesia. The stadium meets FIFA standards for its football field and it has an additional field for training purposes. Regional government also prepared non venue facilities such as Hotel, Airport, Road, and other facilities which it will support the athlete activities.

Lisa Rumbewas is a champion weight lifter. Photo: Ataranews
Boaz Solossa, Indonesia National Team captain. Source: starplayer-profiles.blogspot.com

High standard venue provided by Indonesian Government reflects the enthusiasm and concern of Papuan young generation who want to become athletes. General Secretary of the Sport Committee in Papua, Kenius Kogoya, said that in 2019 there were 30 Papuan athletes who support Indonesia at the Sea Games in Philippines. Not only that, there are several Papuan athletes who have contributed in sports and made Indonesia proud at the international level such as Boaz Salosa, the former captain of the Indonesian National Team, Lisa Rumbewas, a weightlifter who won 2 silver medals and 1 bronze medal at the 2000, 2004 and 2008 Olympics. Then in athletics, Serafi Anelis Unani and Franklin Ramses Burumu won 3 gold medals at the 2011 Sea Games. It is inline with what Governor of Papua, Lucas Enembe purpose that establish Papua as ‘the Province of football and Athletics”.

The location of the Melanesian Country which is close to Papua allows for a closer relationship with Indonesia not only for the economy and trade, but also in sports and culture. This was carried out by Vanuatu when conducting a trial match with Indonesia National Team in June 2019.

Indonesia vs Vanuatu (6-0) Full highlights & goal international friendly match 2019.
The foreign ministers of Solomon Islands and Indonesia, Jeremiah Manele (Left) and Retno Marsudi, pose for a photo after signing the Photo: MOFA Indonesia.

Solomon Islands also bring out other cooperation by establishment of a multipurpose Futsal stadium worth million dollars from Indonesian Government and there are plans by Melanesian Spearhead Group Sports Development Department to take Indonesia onboard the next MSG Prime Minister’s Cup in 2021.

Aside from the political issues regarding West Papua, as a Ni-Vanuatu, love is a virtue and one the most important gesture to display is to unite the people of Melanesia and that will also pave way for development and prosperity for everyone.