By Karen Bong
KUCHING, Dec 16: The state government has pledged to assist Sarawak Muaythai Association (SMA) to develop the combat sport of Muay Thai.
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said the state’s commitment was reflected in the plan to expand the Sarawak Sports Complex in Petra Jaya with sports infrastructure and training facilities.
“I have agreed to Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah’s request to expand the sports village in Petra Jaya, next to the stadium and near a school,” he said at the Sarawak Muaythai Championship 2018 award presentation ceremony at Kuching Waterfront last night.
“It will have facilities for training so as to enhance sports and games that Sarawak will compete in at national games and abroad.”
Abang Johari also reiterated Sarawak’s dream of becoming a sports powerhouse.
“We hope these efforts will benefit the young people in Sarawak,” he pointed out.
He commended SMA, which is a very young club, for their achievements so far, especially with their athletes bringing home two gold medals in the 19th Sukma this year.
“I must congratulate you for your efforts in promoting Muay Thai in Sarawak, which has been well received by sports enthusiasts. Today, Muay Thai has become an important sport in Sarawak,” he added.
Earlier, SMA president Jumaat Ibrahim emphasised that the government’s support was vital to not only grow the sport but also for the development of the martial artists to bring honour to the state.
“We look forward to the setting up of the sports school as there are many children living in the rural areas and getting them to train is hard.
“With the sports facilities, we believe it can produce more successful athletes from Sarawak,” he reckoned.
Meanwhile, Morris Hii from Kelab Muaythai D30 Miri won the 66 kg title and clinched the Sarawak Chief Minister’s Cup after defeating Abang Muhammad Uqail Abang Mustapa of Miri’s Kelab Warmonger Sarawak.
In the Superfight Pro Borneo Invitation 61kg bout, Wan Syahmi of Phoenix Meranek in Samarahan took down Aaron Lim of Mayhem Gym Brunei.
Another highlight was the Pro Invitation International 57kg bout, where Thai fighter Suphan Kaeosisaet beat Muhd Ezham Ibrahim of Red Army Kuala Lumpur.
This championship was organised by SMA with the cooperation of the Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports, Kuching North City Hall (DBKU), Sarawak State Sports Council, Sara Urusharta Sdn Bhd and non-government organisations (NGOs).
DBKU mayor Datuk Abang Abdul Wahap Abang Julai and Ministry of International Trade and E-Commerce Permanent Secretary Kameri Affendi were present. — DayakDaily