By Nur Ashikin Louis
KUCHING, Jan 24: The withdrawal of Sarawak athletes from competing in the Malaysia Games (Sukma) could affect the preparation of the State’s contingent.
Youth, Sport and Entrepreneur Development Minister Dato Sri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said he could only hope that those who withdrew were not from among athletes who are medal prospects.
“I am not sure if these athletes (who withdrew) were those who are able to gain medals or not but looking at the number (of withdrawals), I believe our Sukma preparation will be a little stirred.
“However, we have ‘pelapis’ (backup athletes) or other athletes that we can uplift to replace those who withdraw from Sukma,” he told the press at the 2021 Sarawak Sports Corporation (SSC) appreciation night held at Pullman Hotel here last night (Jan 23).
Fortunately, he said, Sarawak has always continued with programmes to discover more sports talents of which these newcomers can fill in the vacancy left by those who had withdrawn from the sports.
Abdul Karim who is also the Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts Minister-cum-Asajaya assemblyman further said that the athletes’ withdrawal was unavoidable due to the Covid-19 pandemic situation which affected the whole nation.
“However, Sarawak has entered Phase 4 of the National Recovery Plan (NRP) and I hope we will return to (the performance level) where we left off two years ago.
“That is why our sports development officers will ensure that within this short period of time, we will elevate the existing athletes in the shadow team to the next level,” he added.
On Jan 19, Abdul Karim disclosed that a total of 88 Sarawak athletes have withdrawn from competing in Sukma this year.
Among the reasons were overaged, work commitment, marriage and offers to further their studies in various universities. — DayakDaily