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A Sukma without spectators?

News Source : Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR: The Youth and Sports Ministry (KBS) is mulling the best method to hold the Malaysia Games (Sukma), including the possibility of not having spectators present, so as to ensure a smooth and safe running of the multi-sports Games.

Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu (pic), citing the recent Tokyo Olympics, said among the other aspects that needed to be looked at in deciding on how to hold Sukma included the participation of teenagers aged 17 and below who have yet to be vaccinated against Covid-19.

“Bear in mind, Sukma involves (many) athletes aged 17 and below… because Sukma is where we look for talent. So, this is among the issues we have to think of (in terms of hosting the Games),” he told reporters after visiting the OKU Sentral drive-through vaccination centre at the Johor Baru City Council Aquatic Centre here, Wednesday.

Also present were Johor Bahru district officer Datuk Abdul Rahman Salleh and Senator Datuk Ras Adiba Radzi, who is also the president of OKU Sentral.

Ahmad Faizal also described the cancellation of this year’s President’s Cup and Youth Cup football competitions as a “responsible decision” based on the Covid-19 risk evaluation that was done.

“It will be difficult for us to control the huge number of players from each squad in terms of managing or having a sports bubble.

“Secondly, most of these players have not been vaccinated… so, we are responsible for their health. As such, the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) made a decision (which) in my view was very responsible. So, it’s the same with Sukma,” he said.

On the organisation of Sukma, which Johor was supposed to have hosted in 2020, Ahmad Faizal said he would discuss the matter with the state’s Tourism, Youth and Sports Committee chairman Datuk Onn Hafiz Ghazi.

“I see that the Johor has made very detailed preparation. All the venues are ready and, in fact, I see that these venues have been well maintained. I believe Johor is ready to host the Sukma but I have come to also hold a discussion with him (Onn Hafiz) and the state government on the best way to move forward next year,” he said when commenting on whether Sukma would follow the method used for the hosting the recent Tokyo Olympics.

At the Johor State Legislative Assembly, which ended Tuesday, Onn Hafiz said the state was still waiting for a decision as to whether the 2020 Johor Sukma, which was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, could be held next year and that a decision is expected to be made by the Sukma Supreme Committee soon.

The 2020 Johor Sukma, which was supposed to have been held from March 6-14 this year, and the Para Sukma from April 5-10, had to be postponed again following a spike in Covid-19 cases this year.

In another development, Ahmad Faizal described the action of athletes using banned substances for enhancing performances as “irresponsible” and “lacking the spirit of sportsmanship”.

“We strongly disagree with athletes using banned substances to enhance performance. If it is proven that the athletes have been using banned substances to enhance performance, obviously the ministry will take action to suspend (them)… not only the ministry, but the associations will also take action by not allowing these athletes from taking part in future events,” he said.

On Sunday (Sept 5), Anti-Doping Agency of Malaysia (Adamas) director Azura Abidin confirmed that two national athletes, who trained at the National Sports Council (NSC), had tested positive for banned substances in a test conducted in June.

The next day, the Malaysian Weightlifting Federation (PABM) confirmed that the two national athletes reported to have tested positive for using banned substances were their weightlifters, adding that both of them had been suspended from all activities, training and Malaysian weightlifting events pending the hearing process and outcome.

Meanwhile, Ahmad Faizal hoped that the Ministry of Health (MOH) and National Security Council (MKN) would consider the suggestion to reopen gymnasiums nationwide with stricter implementation of the standard operating procedure (SOP), given that many gym operators, trainers and members of the public, including athletes, were affected by the closure of the centres.

“We hope the proposal would be supported by other parties so that gym operators nationwide can breathe easy once they reopen for business. Many say that this (reopening of gyms) is not a necessity and just a way of life but the difference between those who go to the cinema and those who go to the gym is that the gym-goers are (more) focused on health,” he said.


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