The 2012 National Games will officially end with tonight’s closing ceremony, and the province of Jakarta is all but assured of finishing atop the medal standings.
As of 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, the Jakarta contingent had already amassed 99 gold medals, 98 silver medals and 107 bronze medals, followed by West Java (93-77-99) and 2008 National Games champion East Java (83-80-83).
The National Sports Committee (KONI) decided early on Wednesday that all events had to be completed by the end of the day. That took a bit of rescheduling, since some events had originally been scheduled for Thursday.
KONI chairman Tono Suratman said the decision was made so that the organizers and athletes could focus on the closing ceremony, which will be at Riau Main Stadium and attended by Vice President Boediono.
Although 25 gold medals were still up for grabs as nightfall approached on Wednesday, West Java officials admitted that their group of athletes were unlikely to surpass the capital city’s medal tally.
“Congratulations to Jakarta. They are still the best in the country,” West Java spokesman Dadan Hendaya said. “But we are pleased with our athletes’ achievements as we are up two ranks from the previous National Games (PON) in East Kalimantan.
“This will boost our confidence as we host the next PON in 2016.”
This will mark the 11th time that Jakarta has finished at the top of the Games’ medal standings. The province even won eight times in a row between 1969-1996.
“This is proof that our sports-development program has been running well,” Jakarta contingent chief Eddy Widodo said. “We’re happy with this even though we failed to achieve our 125 gold medals target.”
Riau enjoyed its best performance in the PON, sitting in fifth place with 42 golds, 37 silvers and 50 bronze medals.
Riau Governor Rusli Zainal said the closing ceremony will be as extravagant as the opening ceremony.
“We will showcase Riau culture to the country,” Rusli said proudly. “However it won’t cost us much. It’s less than half of South Sumatra’s budget for the closing ceremony of the 2011 [Southeast Asian] Games,” Rusli said.
It was reported that South Sumatra spent Rp 150 billion ($15.8 million) for its closing ceremony.