Jakarta – This year's National Sports Competition for Students (KOSN), an annual event hosted by the Education and Culture Ministry, is held online as the country is fighting against the COVID-19 pandemic.
Amid restrictions due to the pandemic, the competition, which is themed "Raising Talents and Sports Achievements During the Pandemic", only features karate and Indonesian martial art pencak silat matches, which are being held in November and December.
The ministry's director general of early-childhood and secondary education, Jumeri, said the pandemic should not limit the students from nurturing their talents and achieving well in sports.
"Therefore, the Education and Culture Ministry has discussed with the COVID-19 handling team as well as other stakeholders in order to keep the [annual] competition running, although in a virtual format," Jumeri said Monday during the event's opening ceremony, as quoted by kompas.com.
In previous years, the competition was known as the National Sports Olympics for Students (O2SN).
Jumeri further said he appreciated the students' enthusiasm in participating in the competition.
"Congratulations to all of you who have fought your best and stayed eager in learning and doing positive activities [...].
"Your energy – in practicing and doing your best for the competition – is something that I don't take lightly. We must never stop doing sports. Nevertheless, we also need to keep on working together to stop COVID-19 transmission," he added.
The sporting competition is divided into two categories, namely for students in senior high and vocational school, which runs from Monday to Nov. 21, as well as for students in elementary and junior high school, which will be held from Dec. 2 to 7.
Some 5,500 senior high and vocational school students sent their videos to the competition organizers in the previous qualification round. Of the said figure, 542 students made it into the November finals, the ministry said in a statement earlier this month.
Meanwhile, for elementary and junior high school level, 2,600 students have submitted their videos for the qualifier.
Participant Nayla Rizki Az-Zahra of Bengkulu said she had meticulously prepared herself for the competition during her daily virtual training routine. "I really hope I can win so I can make my region proud," said the pencak silat athlete.
Karateka Amelya Raia of Central Sulawesi said for the competition she took daily physical training in the evening after finishing her online school session.
"Although I've just finished participating in an international virtual sporting competition, I still do the daily routine to prepare myself [for the national competition]. I just want to perform the best I can to win," she added. (nkn)