Wed, 23 Feb 2000

Central Java council says let South Sumatra host 2004 PON

SEMARANG (JP): Central Java Council members urged the province administration to allow South Sumatra to host the 2004 National Games (PON) and focus its attention on the 2008 PON.

"Central Java should have let South Sumatra host the quadrennial. After all we lost in the bidding election to Sumatra by 10 votes," said the council's National Mandate Party (PAN) chairman, Hadi Pranoto, Tuesday.

South Sumatra won 33 votes followed by Central Java 23, North Sumatra four and West Java one.

"Even if the President makes the choice of the next host between the two provinces, Central Java must let South Sumatra host. It will be the first PON outside Java," he said.

Hadi said the allocated budget of Rp 10 billion (US$1.4 million) can be used to support the education and logistics sectors.

The council chairman, Mardijo, said: "If Central Java fails to host the 2004 PON, it should not be desperate. It's better to prepare to bid for the 2008 PON."

"If the President opts to allow Central Java to host PON, then we must be able to conduct the mandate properly."

The council's Golkar Party member, JH Sitompul, said: "South Sumatra deserves to host the 2004 PON. Central Java can focus its bid as the next PON host."

"We can use the PON budget to eradicate poverty in the province and help Central Java people face the economic crisis. Moreover, Central Java is the second poorest province in Indonesia," he said.

In Palembang, Antara said South Sumatra governor, Rosihan Arsyad, said the province would be ready to host PON by renovating sports venues including Bumi Sriwijaya stadium, swimming pool and indoor stadium.

South Sumatra will spend about Rp 135 billion for the renovation and preparation of athletes to compete in the event. (har)