Jakarta surrenders PON title to E. Java for the first time
By Ivy Susanti
SURABAYA (JP): East Java secured the overall champion title of the 15th National Games (PON) for the first time in history by collecting 130 golds, 105 silvers and 113 bronzes.
Defending champion Jakarta was runner-up after earning 114 golds, 83 silvers and 92 bronzes.
Ironically, Jakarta earned its first overall champion title and lost it for the first time in Surabaya. In the 1969 PON here, Jakarta took the title from West Java with 101 golds, 69 silvers and 40 bronzes and now it had to surrender it to the host.
West Java, on the other hand, has not been successful in reaching the top. It stays in third position with 79 golds, 88 silvers and 104 bronzes.
State Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports Mahadi Sinambela expressed satisfaction over PON's results and its arrangement. But he called on the authorities to avoid using PON for its own political agenda.
"I hope the overall champion title will not be used in the campaign to elect the governor. Let's be fair. During the administration of former president Soeharto, any minor achievement in the national sports event was used to seek appraisal from the central government," he announced on Thursday.
Mahadi expressed concern over the fact that the achievement of the 26 participating provinces' was unequal.
"I'm rather disappointed to see that West Sumatra is facing a setback. As far as I know, it used to be Bengkulu who always finished at the bottom. If the quality of sports in all provinces is equal, they must share more or less the same amount of medals," he said.
He also wished that PON could be staged outside Jakarta in the future.
"We have to decentralize such a major event to all provinces to boost their sports development and to give them a feeling as being part of Indonesia."
"I don't want any province to feel excluded because all the events are staged in Jakarta. And then they try to raise their own flag," he said, referring to recent calls from the Irianese to gain independence from Indonesia.
Three more track events are to be staged at the closing ceremony on Friday -- the finals of the 1,500m run, men's 4x400m relay and women's 4x400m relay. President Abdurrahman Wahid is scheduled to close the quadrennial event in the evening.
H.M. Rawi, the director of PT Lasindo Multimedia 2000, said earlier that tickets for the closing ceremony were limited to only 11,000 for security reasons.
At the track and field final on Thursday, Ni Putu Dessy Margawati of West Nusa Tenggara cleared 3.65m to win the gold and break her previous national record of 3.50m in the women's pole vault. Alia Basalamah of Jakarta won a silver after she jumped 3.30m and teammate Emrina was next after she jumped 3.10m.
East Java was the real champion by winning the most prestigious gold medal in soccer by defeating West Java 1-0. North Sumatra won the bronze after defeating Jakarta 1-0.
Medal Tally (as of 9:30 p.m.) Provinces Gold Silver Bronze East Java 130 105 113 Jakarta 114 83 92 West Java 79 88 104 Central Java 41 61 65 Lampung 20 22 26 Jambi 19 9 13 Papua 17 19 23 East Kalimantan 14 11 17 North Sumatra 14 10 18 South Sulawesi 12 13 18 North Sulawesi 11 15 17 South Kalimantan 11 8 10 Bali 10 10 15 South Sumatra 8 14 16 Southeast Sulawesi 8 5 13 Yogyakarta 6 12 25 Maluku 6 3 6 Riau 5 9 15 West Kalimantan 4 8 7 East Nusa Tenggara 4 6 8 Central Kalimantan 3 11 18 West Nusa Tenggara 3 6 7 Central Sulawesi 2 1 3 Bengkulu 1 3 5 Aceh 1 1 13 West Sumatra - 4 6 Total 543 537 673