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By Wilfred Pilo
KUCHING, Sept 20: Sarawak is ready to stage the 21st Asia Masters Athletics Championship (Amac 2019) this Dec 2-7, welcoming some 2,300 athletes and officials from 28 countries.
Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said this is the first of such championship to be held in the state, which is good for sports tourism.
“These athletes are no more at their prime age in the sport they were good at before, but they still have the interest.
“The championship here aims to bring these athletes together and to foster closer relationship among themselves,” he told a press conference at Stadium Negeri, here, today.
“The number of athletes taking part in this championship here can be likened to a mini Olympic, where they will compete in 25 events. It will help put Sarawak in the global sporting arena, demonstrating our capability of hosting a world standard event,” he said.
Abdul Karim pointed out that in terms of sports tourism, Amac 2019 would draw the attention of not only the 2,300 participants but also their family members and friends accompanying them to visit Kuching.
All events will be held at Sarawak Stadium, Stadium Negeri and the Throwing Arena, which are currently being prepared for the championship.
“New track is being laid at Stadium Negeri and other facilities are being upgraded,” he said.
Among the big contingents included Sri Lanka, India, Japan, Chinese Taipei and host Malaysia.
“To enliven the championship, a torch run will commence in Singapore, as it is where this inaugural championship started in 1981. The torch run will be carried out in Kuching on Dec 2,” he continued.
There would also be a banquet dinner at the Lawn Bowl Arena on Dec 2, where Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg is expected to launch the championship.
“The recently elected World Masters Athletics (WMA) president, Margit Jungmann, who is on her first official visit to Asia, will be attending the championship,” Abdul Karim said.
Assistant Minister of Youth and Sports Datuk Snowdan Lawan and Sarawak Sports Council chief executive officer Dr Ong Kong Swee were present at the press conference. — DayakDaily