By Wilfred Pilo
KUCHING, Feb 12: Sarawak has won the bid to host the 21st Asia Masters Athletics Championship in Kuching from Dec 2-6 this year.
Assistant Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Snowdan Lawan said the tourney was expected to attract 3,000 master athletes and team official to the city to pit their skills over 1,500 events that are divided into various categories.
Believe it or not, some of these athletes are between 90 and 100-years-old!
Stating that the state government was delighted to have been given the honour to play host, Snowdan revealed that three cities vied for the privilege during the bidding process in Rugao, China, in Sept 2017.
“Twenty-three of the 25 Asia Master Athletes (AMA) delegates voted for Kuching,” beamed Snowdan at a press conference at the state stadium here today, adding that the Malaysia Masters Athletics Association (MMAA) had stood by Sarawak.
Snowdan explained that the championship is specially organised for athletes aged 35 years and above, and some of those coming are more than 90 years and 100-years-old.
“It is indeed very interesting to watch all golden senior citizens running, jumping and throwing at this ripe age. We hope this championship will promote healthy lifestyles among our people,” he said.
Snowdan said the state government had been targetting this championship since January last year. Having won the bid, MMAA will be handling the technical aspects of the spectacle, while Sarawak Sports Council (SSC) will handle the logistics.
Two secretariats have been created, one here and another in Kuala Lumpur. As for the 21st AMAC website, it was already up in August last year.
Snowdan said the state government had come out with promotional brochures that were distributed during the World Masters Athletics Championship in Spain in Sept last year, at the Asia Pacific Master Games in Penang (also in Sept last year) and at the 32nd Malaysia International Masters Athletics Championships in Kuala Lumpur (in October 2018).
“We are working according to the schedule, and the 21st AMA technical handbook will be uploaded on the website and distributed to all AMA affiliates by the end of May,” he said.
Snowdan also announced that for the first time in the AMA Championship history, a torch run to popularise the championships among Malaysians, especially Sarawakians, would be held.
“The special event will begin in Singapore because the first Asia Veterans Athletics Championships was held there in 1981,” he said, adding that Malaysia would be fielding about 600 athletes.
Present at the press conference were Malaysia Athletics Federation president Datuk Karim Ibrahim, MMAA patron Datuk Seri V. Pulaithiran and Sarawak Sports Corporation chief executive officer Dr Ong Kong Swee. — DayakDaily