2022 Sukma: Kickstart on track

Miri (July 14): Preparations for 2022 Sukma have been disrupted by restrictions during the pandemic, but Sarawak are well on track to kick start their bid for the overall champion title.

The Covid-19 vaccination programme to enable athletes and coaches return to normal training is gaining momentum and they are eager to deliver at the 20th edition of the biennial national multi-sport event in Johor next year.

Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah is confident that the state contingent will be ready for the challenge.

“We are aiming to bring back the glory and success to Sarawak,” he said in a press conference after inspecting the vaccination programme for athletes, coaches and officials at Curtin University Malaysia’s Hall yesterday.

The cancellation of 2020 Sukma due to the pandemic has given the contingent a lot more time to plan for next year’s edition.

Few issues were also raised such as the eligibility of athletes as some have reached of exceeded the age limit for the Games.

Abdul Karim however revealed that Sukma Special Technical Committee has agreed to extend the age limit for the 2022 Sukma from 21 to 23.

On the vaccination drive, the minister said 49 athletes and coaches received their vaccination in the third phase of the programme here yesterday.

They were the state Sukma athletes from various sports such as rugby, squash, archery, athletics, hockey, sailing, wushu, football, sepak takraw, eSports, silat, beach volleyball and badminton.

Abdul Karim said the first batch comprising 154 athletes, coaches and officials received their vaccination in Kuching on June 28 while 35 athletes in Sibu were the second batch to get vaccinated on July 7.

“Presently, Sarawak is still the first in the county to provide vaccinations for its athletes, elite coaches and sports officials,” he added.

“This is done as part of Sarawak’s strategy and plans to get our athletes to be well protected from Covid-19 as well as to ensure their training and preparations are according to schedule.”

At the same time, he said Sarawak State Sports Council and Sarawak Sports Corporation (SSC) are looking to extend the vaccination programme to young athletes once the Ministry of Health Malaysia (MOH) had given their approval.

Abdul Karim said his ministry, through SSC, has complied with the official procedure when applying for the group vaccination for athletes, coaches and officials.

“Our vaccination programme thus far only focused on athletes aged 18 and above. The government will look into those who are below 18.”

Also present at the vaccination were Transport Minister Datuk Lee Kim Shin, Assistant Minister to Tourism, Arts and Culture Datuk Sebastian Ting, Ministry of Youth and Sports permanent secretary Nancy Jolhi and SSC chief executive officer Dr Ong Kong Swee.

Source: The Borneo Post

Sarawak Sports Corporation