Bakti Olahraga Djarum Foundation decided to temporarily stop the general auditions for badminton scholarship held by PB Djarum starting 2020. This decision is a response to the accusation from the Child Protection Commission (KPAI) about child exploitation in the badminton talent search program.
“We will stop the public auditions in 2020. It is indeed unfortunate for many parties. It stops for everyone’s sake to make each party and think properly,” Bakti Olahraga Djarum Foundation Program Director Yoppy Rosimin wrote on PB Djarum’s official website last week.
The decision was also mentioned during the commemoration ceremony of the 36th National Sports Day in Banjarmasin, South Kalimantan, Monday (9/9). Youth and Sports Minister Imam Nahrawi hopes that the program will continue. “Today, we heard the news about PB Djarum’s general auditions. Don’t let it stop. It should keep running for the sake of our children,” he said.
Imam said there is no child exploitation in the PB Djarum’s activities. According to him, the auditions were part of the steps to give birth to new potential athletes. Many of them have made Indonesia famous in the international arena. PB Djarum’s athletes successfully won various world titles, such as All England, Thomas and Uber Cup, Sudirman Cup, and World Championship.
Championships won by PB Djarum’s Athletes
Kevin Sanjaya is an example of an outstanding athlete who came from the auditions. He and his partner Marcus Gideon are currently the world number one men’s doubles pair based on BWF World Rankings. Kevin is the result of the 2007 PB Djarum’s general audition.
Mohammad Ahsan, world number two men's badminton athlete, also regretted PB Djarum’s decision. According to him, PB Djarum is the only badminton club that is willing to pick up talented children from some remote regions. He was one of the athletes who came from PB Djarum’s auditions.
Ahsan recently won the 2019 BWF World Championships with his teammate Hendra Setiawan. He said their club (PB Djarum) only wants to help search for new prospective athletes. “If there are no general auditions, maybe the talents in remote regions do not know where they want to go. They may not be filtered or monitored,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Indonesian Badminton Association (PBSI) stated that PB Djarum’s auditions have been beneficial in finding new prospective athletes. So far, the auditions have given opportunities to young local athletes to realize their dreams. Moreover, not all potential athletes’ parents can bring their children to badminton coaching centers, which are mostly located in Java.
“This is one of the things that makes me worried. We can no longer find players like Liliyana Natsir from Manado, Rusana from Sumatra, and no more athletes from Aceh,” PBSI Secretary-General Achmad Budiharto said. He regretted that PB Djarum’s positive activities are seen as child exploitation.
Scholarship Auditions Violating Regulation
PB Djarum has been doing the audition program to find new badminton talents every year since 2006. However, KPAI only made this a problem last year. Yoppy said his party had often met with KPAI since the previous year. After the final of the 2018 badminton auditions in Kudus, KPAI summoned the Djarum Foundation.
“They said we are exploiting children,” he told the media crew at his office, GOR Djarum, in Central Java, Monday (9/9). The use of the Djarum Badminton Club logo on the shirt worn by audition participants is considered to be exploiting the children. KPAI considers the logo to be identical with cigarette products.
KPAI’s allegations are based on Article 13 of the Child Protection Law, which states that every child is entitled to protection from exploitation, both commercial and sexual. Commercial exploitation in question is manipulating or using children for profit.
Based on Government Regulation (PP) No. 109/2012 on Safeguarding Materials Containing Addictive Substances in the Form of Tobacco Products for Health, institutional activities are prohibited from using logos or brands of tobacco products. This prohibition also includes its sponsorship in the form of promotion or corporate social responsibility.