WFS warns of virus impact on Sukma medal target

KUCHING: Sarawak’s initial four-gold medal target for wushu at Johor Sukma has been greatly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, said Wushu Federation of Sarawak (WFS) deputy president James Ting Ing Seek.

The coronavirus has derailed the preparations and training programmes, but Ting insisted the team will try their best to maintain the standard or better their medal haul in Johor.

The 20th edition of the biennial national multi-sport event will take place in March next year.

“We cannot promise now that we can deliver the four golds because normal training was disrupted for three months since March this year and our exposure stint to China has been kept on hold due to various restrictions arising from the pandemic.

“We are now monitoring the pandemic situation very closely and we are planning to send a few potential medalists for one or two months training stint in Fukien, China to prepare our athletes for the challenge in Sukma Johor,” said Ting.

In November last year, WFS had sent athletes to Fukien for one-month exposure stint and for Sukma Perak, the exponents went to Henan and Fujian.

According to the WFS head coach and chief examiner for Sabah and Sarawak, it has been the tradition for WFS to send their athletes to China for exposures, especially for Sukma.

This is because China is not only the world wushu powerhouse but also has the most advanced sports facilities and that the standard of the state elite athletes will improve greatly after sparring and training with China’s national athletes in Fujian.

Ting said WFS was grateful to the continuous support from the Ministry of Youth and Sports through the Sarawak Sports Corporation and the Sarawak State Sports Council in funding the exposure stints.

“We have been able to repay that support by finishing among the top three in Sukma since wushu was introduced as an event in 2000.

“Our most glorious achievement was becoming three-time consecutive overall champions from 2000 to 2004 in Penang, Sabah and Negeri Sembilan, and overall champions in 2008 (Terengganu), 2012 (Pahang) and 2014 (Perlis),” he said.

The state wushu team were second in 2016 (Sarawak) and 2018 (Perak) and third in 2006 (Kedah) and 2010 (Melaka).

There are 25 gold medals including five in sanda (free sparring) on offer in Johor and Sarawak will be sending 12 athletes for taolu and four for sanda events.

Among the squad are former Sukma gold medalists Elvic Bong Qian Zheng and Lee Hui Xian.

In the last Sukma in Perak two years ago, Sarawak finished third overall with four gold, four silver and five bronze medals.

“How we will fare in Johor will depend largely on the athletes’ performance on competition day.

“The points will also be mainly judged on how well the athletes manoeuvre the difficulty moves during their execution of the respective taolu events as well as how they handle pressure during the competition,” added Ting.

Source : The Borneo Post

Sarawak Sports Corporation