Jakarta (ANTARA) - Outside a two-story building within the tourist complex of Ken Park Surabaya, a number of young people are warming up and getting ready to practice.
There are nine people, six boys and three girls, who take a position on the mat and make some light movements -- jogging, jumping up and down, and lifting legs alternately.
After warming up, they pick up some swords, machetes, and spears that are commonly used in the Chinese martial art of wushu.
They are East Java's mainstay wushu athletes who are training for the 20th National Sports Week (PON), which will take place in Papua.
One of the East Java wushu athletes is Seraf Naro, who was born in Surabaya on September 17, 2001.
Naro became well-known after clinching a gold medal at the 2019 SEA Games in the Philippines.
Naro, who performed well at the Games along with his counterparts Edgar Xavier Marvelo and Haris Horatius, had been training for quite a while at the national sports training center (Pelatnas).
In the same year, the three athletes have managed to bring home gold medals from the wushu world championship in China.
"Praise God, at that time, with Edgar and Haris, I could give the best for Indonesia. Now is the time to try to do the same for East Java (at PON)," Naro said whilst training.
He said he is determined to make his family proud and prove that he was not wrong in choosing wushu as his sport.
"I first started doing wushu because my parents told me to, then I joined a wushu club named Sasana Yasanis Surabaya in 2010," he recalled.
However, he said that over time, he began to fall in love with martial art and was determined to achieve more by practicing seriously.
Three years later after some serious practice, he began to make some achievements in wushu, starting from winning a silver medal at the Junior National Championship in Yogyakarta.
Then, he made a series of other achievements, including in some international wushu events, such as the Japan Open and Malaysia Open, where he succeeded in winning gold medals.
This year's PON will mark Naro's national debut. He has never performed in the biggest sporting event in the country due to age requirements.
As he turns 20 this month, Naro can enter the senior team and get the opportunity to prove his martial art skills.
What is more challenging for Naro in participating in this year's PON is that he has to compete with his own colleagues at the national training center.
"In this sports event, I have to face Edgar. It is a challenge as well as an honor for me to be able to compete against my own friend. In the competition, of course, we have to compete, but outside the arena we are friends," he remarked.
Even though this is his first time participating in a competition at the four-year national sporting event, which was delayed last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Naro said he is committed to performing as well as possible to bring a good name to East Java Province.
Naro will appear in four matches of wushu, namely barehanded, machete, spear, and a team match, for which he will be paired with another wushu athlete from the province.
"There is a chance to win three medals. We ask for your blessing to be able to show the best performance in Papua," said Naro, who is currently registered as a third-semester law student at the University of Surabaya.
A coach at the East Java Wushu Center, Sherly Hoediono, admitted that Naro is an athlete who is expected to be successful in the future.
"Naro has great ability. Among wushu athletes in East Java, I think he has the most extraordinary ability. But he must remember that his competitors are also pretty good," she said.
Even though this is the first time for Naro to participate in the National Sports Week, Sherly expressed optimism that Naro will perform well for his matches considering he already has had some experience in international and national competitions.
"This time he indeed will do single matches, unlike when he participated in the world championships and the SEA Games in which he competed in teams. However, Naro had proven his ability at the national championship," Sherly pointed out.
The East Java wushu team is targeting five gold medals at the upcoming sports event out of 12 gold medals. However, Sherly said she is optimistic that the target can be achieved since the province's athletes have made maximum preparation.
"It's about how they prepare their best mentality for the competition," said Sherly, who is also a former national wushu athlete.
The East Java wushu team that will join the PON XX Papua consists of 10 athletes -- six males and four females.
"Our toughest opponent is the team from Jakarta. However, we will do our best, and our athletes are ready to bring out their best for East Java," Sherly stated.
Wushu martial art will be one of the sports competed in PON Papua from September 29 to October 3, 2021. East Java's wushu team is scheduled to depart on September 25, 2021.
East Java province will send a contingent of 782 people to the PON XX Papua, comprising 543 athletes, 161 coaches and officials, and 78 supporters. Athletes from the East Java contingent will compete in 34 of the 37 sports disciplines at the PON National Games.
The National Sports Week (PON) 2021 will be held in Jayapura City and the districts of Jayapura, Mimika, and Merauke from October 2-15, 2021. At least 6,400 athletes and 3,500 officials from 34 provinces across Indonesia are expected to participate in the event. (*)