By Adrian Lim
KUCHING, Feb 7: Sarawak can look forward to play host to more international sports events in the future.
Minister of Youth and Sports Syed Saadiq Syed Abdul Rahman believed that Sarawak was capable of hosting more international sports events as the city of Kuching played host for the staging the international cycling race Le Tour de Langkawi 2020 today.
“This is the second time that Sarawak, in the city of Kuching, is hosting Le Tour de Langkawi after more than 20 years when one of the stages was held for the first time in Sarawak back in 1997.
“With that, there could be more international sports events that Sarawak could play host to in the future,” he said in his speech prior to the flag off of the stage one of Le Tour de Langkawi 2020 at Padang Merdeka here today.
Similarly, Sarawak Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said that Sarawak was always open to any proposal or the hosting of any international sports events.
“It is not just confined to cycling as we have the facilities to host other sports events as well.
“But the challenge is in terms of logistics as the geographical area and the landscape in Sarawak is huge.
“For cycling races like Le Tour de Langkawi which is conducted in stages, we are able to do it,” he told the media during a press conference.
He was glad that the organisers of the event could arrange the cycling race within a short period of time.
He gathered that stage one of the cycling race was prepared within 24 hours with the cooperation of various government agencies.
Abdul Karim echoed Syed Saadiq in that he was hopeful that Sarawak could host more international events every year and hoped for more funding to be channelled from the federal Ministry of Youth and Sports to his ministry for organising more sports events in Sarawak.
On another note, Syed Saadiq said his ministry would discuss with the organisers to host and to include Sabah and Sarawak routes into the calendar of Le Tour de Langkawi’s cycling race next year.
He pointed out that Sabah and Sarawak will always remain special and be part of the cycling routes of Le Tour de Langkawi.
Abdul Karim stated that there was a plan by the state government to build a velodrome.
Therefore, he outlined that the state government wants to cultivate more cyclists and train them so that they will be able to take part in competitive cycling.
Meanwhile, there were 123 cyclists from 21 teams who were competing for stage one of the Le Tour de Langkawi 2020 which covers a distance of 85.6 km in Kuching here.
The race was won by Yevgeniy Federov from Kazakhstan representing Vino Astana Motors team with a time of 1 hour and 51.01 seconds.
Second place went to Boonratnathankorn Thurakit from Thailand representing Thailand Continental Cycling Team with a time of 1 hour 51.04 seconds while third place went to Orken Ahmet from Turkey who represented Sapura Cycling Team with a time of 1 hour 52.18 seconds.
Meanwhile, Federov also won the white, green and yellow jerseys for being the best Asian rider, overall winner and best sprinters for stage one of Le Tour de Langkawi 2020 here.
Among those in attendance to watch the cycling race were Assistant Minister of Youth and Sports Sarawak Datuk Snowdan Lawan, Petronas Sarawak general manager Zulaihi Mohd Mantali, Youth and Sports Ministry deputy chief secretary Ramona Mohd Razali and Le Tour de Langkawi’s chief operating officer Shahaizereen Abdul Hamid. —DayakDaily