Indonesia plans to work closer with Saudi Arabia in martial arts, scouting 

Indonesia plans to work closer with Saudi Arabia in martial arts, scouting 
Indonesia plans to work closer with Saudi Arabia in martial arts, scouting 

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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - JAKARTA: Indonesia is planning to cooperate with Saudi Arabia in the fields of martial arts, badminton and scouting, a minister told Arab News on Thursday, following a recent agreement on youth and sports development. 

Indonesia and Saudi Arabia signed several memoranda of understanding during President Joko Widodo’s visit to Riyadh in October. 

Youth and Sports Minister Dito Ariotedjo, who was part of the Indonesian delegation, had signed the preliminary agreement on youth and sports cooperation with Saudi Sports Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal.  

“On martial arts, badminton, and kick volleyball, Indonesia has the chance to expand international access for certified coaches (through Saudi Arabia) also as part of its cultural diplomacy,” Ariotedjo told Arab News on Thursday.  

“Especially for pencak silat (Indonesian martial arts), it can help our international showcase and recognition so it can qualify in the Olympics.”  

Pencak silat is a class of indigenous martial arts that combines performance art and self-defense skills. It has been included in the Southeast Asian Games since 1987 and was a sports branch at the 2018 Asian Games.   

Indonesia’s pencak silat is recognized by UNESCO as an intangible cultural heritage. 

Jakarta is also keen on working closely with Riyadh on the scout movement.  

“Saudi Arabia’s scouting performance is pretty good so it can be Indonesia’s partner in the field. Furthermore, cooperation in scouting also opens up the potential of expanding scouting partnerships among member countries (of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation),” Ariotedjo said.  

Closer ties between the two countries can also open up new opportunities for their athletes and coaches, he added.  

“There are various youth activities that hold the potential to boost soft diplomacy between the two friendly countries … We understand the importance of strengthening Indonesian-Saudi relations through youth and sports, and how the two countries can support each other to achieve their goals at the international level.”  

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