President Jokowi hopes for sporting 'reboot' in Indonesia

Indonesian President Joko Widodo. © Presidential Press Bureau/Muchlis Jr
Indonesian President Joko Widodo. © Presidential Press Bureau/Muchlis Jr

Jakarta, Indonesia, September 17, 2020: The COVID-19 pandemic, which has forced Indonesian sport to postpone a host of major events, should be used as an opportunity to “reinvent” the national sports ecosystem, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has said.

Speaking during a virtual event to mark National Sports Day on September 9, the President said that the current circumstances presented a ripe opportunity for far-reaching, system-wide reform to salvage the sports industry, particularly as physical contact was being 

actively discouraged to protect the public's health. 

“The current conditions give us the opportunity for a reboot,” said Jokowi, as reported by The Jakarta Post. 

“I call on everyone involved in sport to reflect on themselves and prepare the next steps to trigger a massive leap in the world of sports.” 

Jokowi added that sports reform could start by reviewing athlete training and development and bolstering collaboration between independent sports organisations and the Youth and Sports Ministry. 

Jokowi also urged the sports industry to incorporate the latest scientific and technological advancements, like big data analytics, to absorb more athletic talents and develop a competent management structure. 

“Remember that we are a country of more than 267 million people, the majority of whom belong to the younger generations. It doesn’t make any sense for us to be short of talented athletes,” Jokowi said. 

He added that Indonesian sport needed more household names and inspirational icons whose sporting achievements could shape the industry's future. 

Also during the virtual event, Jokowi highlighted the importance of developing sports tourism in Indonesia, which could pay dividends to the national economy. Sports tourism also had the potential to create a positive trickle-down effect on regional economies by 

providing greater exposure to otherwise obscure tourist destinations and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) across the archipelago, the President said. 

“As the pandemic continues, more people will look to outdoor sports in open nature. We have to use this opportunity to promote Indonesia’s natural beauty,” he said.