Boy from NTT to boost athletes’ spirit after climbing flag pole

Courtesy Sports and Youth Ministry/Handout


The government has invited to Jakarta junior high school student Yohanes “Joni” Gama, whose video of climbing a 12-meter flag pole to disentangle the twisted rope during an Independence Day ceremony in Belu regency, East Nusa Tenggara, on Friday has gone viral.

Joni and his parents were invited to attend the 2018 Asian Games opening ceremony at the Gelora Bung Karno stadium on Saturday.

Upon touching down in Jakarta, Joni met with Sports and Youth Affairs Minister Imam Nahrawi for lunch.

The minister said he expected the 14-year-old’s courage to inspire Indonesian athletes competing at the quadrennial event until Sept. 2 and drive them to meet the government’s targets of 10 gold medals and a place among the top 10 in the medal tally.

Imam met Joni and his parents at his office on Saturday afternoon. They were accompanied by Belu Regional Military Command Lt. Col. Putu Dwika, Belu Regent Willy Brodus and Belu Police chief Christian Tobing.

“We are glad and proud that we can meet with our hero [Joni] today, and I would like to express our gratitude through one of our state-owned firms, which will provide a scholarship for Joni to continue his studies until college,” Imam said, referring to electricity firm PLN.

Joni, who idolizes Indonesia’s midfield soccer star Evan Dimas, told the press on Saturday that he hoped his action would inspire other children in the country to “study hard, be scared of nothing and love our homeland.”

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