Jakarta and Medan – Members of the Indonesian professional sports community are among those who have to slow things down as the pandemic continues to thwart plans to put on regular events.
One league has been cancelled, while another has been put on hold.
The national top-tier basketball league, the Indonesian Basketball League (IBL), has decided to cancel the 2020 season after the sixth series as the organizers thought it would be too risky to run the competition during the pandemic.
This year's season was originally scheduled to take place from January to March. However, as a result of the pandemic, which hit the country in March, the operator decided to delay resuming several times before eventually calling it off.
"After the delays, the 2020 league was planned to resume from Oct. 13 to 27, and we had made preparations for it," IBL president director Junas Miradiarsyah said in a virtual press conference on Wednesday, as quoted by kompas.com.
"Nevertheless, looking at the latest pandemic developments, and considering that we're here to support the government [in tackling the coronavirus], we have decided to cancel the 2020 season. We've discussed the matter internally, and we think this is the best decision for all," he added.
The 2020 season ends without a champion but all statistics remain recorded, the organizers said in a statement on Monday. Furthermore, the organizers have said they would still give individual awards, which are set to be announced on Oct. 18.
Junas appreciated all support given by all parties, especially those that played a big part in setting up health protocols while preparing for the league to restart.
Meanwhile, the country's top tier soccer league, Liga 1, is still on hold as the authorities have not yet issued approval for matches to continue as the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Indonesia continues to rise.
On Sept. 28, the National Police said they did not give approval for Liga 1 and Liga 2 to restart.
"In regard to a plan to resume Liga 1 and Liga 2 on Oct. 1, the National Police have decided not to issue a crowd permit due to the increasing confirmed COVID-19 cases," said National Police spokesman, Insp. Gen. Argo Yuwono.
This season's Liga 1 started in February, while Liga 2 began in November 2019.
In line with the police's stance, Soccer Association of Indonesia (PSSI) chairman Mochamad Iriawan has officially announced a month-long delay for both leagues.
Epidemiologist Dicky Budiman of Australia's Griffith University approved of the PSSI's decision to put the leagues on hold.
"Whatever the activity, if we still have a high prevalence [of COVID-19 cases], the risk of transmission of the virus is nevertheless still high," said Dicky as quoted by kompas.com on Sept. 30, adding that hosting soccer matches that attract crowds would defeat the nation's efforts to curb the virus.
Refusing to feel low, Liga 1's Arema FC has said it remains optimistic that the league will eventually be resumed. Meanwhile, Persib Bandung's coach Robert Rene Alberts said the unlikely situation had significantly affected his players.
Elsewhere, more than 700 taekwondo athletes in Medan, North Sumatra, took level up tests at the North Sumatra administration hall in Deliserdang on Sunday with the organizers applying strict health protocols.
The protocols required participants to have a body temperature check, wash their hands and wear a face mask or face shield prior to entering the venue.
"During the test, participants stand 1 meter from each other," said organizer Hamdhani Syahputra. (nkn/uni)