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Pelawan Regency is rich in natural resources, helping APRIL to grow the local economy. But it is rich in human resources too, and it was with that in mind that APRIL subsidiary RAPP set up the Future Athlete Training Center (PPLAMD).

Launched in 2007 with the support of the then-Mayor, PPLAMD provides training to promising young athletes from the local community. It focuses on three sports chosen for their popularity in the area: karate, badminton and tennis.

Sundari Berlian, Community Development Manager at RAPP, praised the dedication of the 140 students, who have to combine training with their schooling. In the first half of 2017 they won a total of 40 domestic medals, including 19 golds, and five international medals, two of which were gold.

"Our goal is for Pelalawan District to have a lot of professional athletes," Sundari said.

The center is part of APRIL founder Sukanto Tanoto’s vision that everyone should have the opportunity to realize his or her full potential.

One of the rising stars of the center is karate athlete Muhammad Zulfikri, who won a gold medal at the Shoto Asean-Japan tournament in Vietnam in December 2016.

Athletes are provided with equipment, a place to train, and the help of professional coaches. Athletes are routinely trained every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. "We have a special sport center to train the athletes. So they can focus on training there," said Sundari.

The success is down to the hard work of the students, but also the quality of the facilities on offer.

"Every sport has its own federation, so from those federations we seek professional trainers who are able to develop our athletes," Sundari said.

Athletes routinely compete at national and international tournaments in order for them to gain experience and learn from their opponents.

"When the athletes join the tournament, especially in the international level, they will learn a lot about their weaknesses and the coach will help them to fix it," Sundari said.

As a major employer in the area, many of the students are children of RAPP staff, but PPLAMD is open to all members of the local community. “We train all the citizens of Pelalawan District who show potential in their sport,” said Sundari.

PPLAMD is open for students of all ages, but the majority attend local elementary and high schools. With 140 young athletes trained so far, the future sporting success of Pelalawan Regency looks bright.

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