SSC: Preparations for Sukma ongoing despite pandemic hitch

Dr Ong Kong Swee

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By Martin Yee

KUCHING, Feb 17: Covid-19 or not, as far as the Sarawak Sports Corporation (SSC) is concerned, preparations for Sukma now rescheduled to 2022 in Johor is going on as usual according to SSC CEO Dr Ong Kong Swee.

According to Dr Ong, the organisers of the Sukma 2022 had proposed for the Games to be hosted in June while the issue with age eligibility of 21 years, will be allowed for those who are past this age.

The Sukma Johor which was initially scheduled to be held in 2020 was delayed and first rescheduled to be held in March then April 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic – but due to the unchanged pandemic situation – it was further moved forward to another year, and this time around it has been set for June 2022.

Dr Ong said that there is not much of an obstacle to the staging of the Games except where the preparations are concerned. The main problem is that there are not enough competitions for certain sports that must be gauged in standard and state of preparedness.

“Even the age is not much of a hindrance to the running of the Games as the organizers have made it fair to the athletes who were initially eligible for Sukma in 2019 when the Games was first scheduled.

“But they can accept them even as they have reached 23 years of age due to the two-year delay.
“For those who were registered in the long list for the Games, they can be 23 by 2022 when the Games are proposed to be held but the downside is that some of them could have left the team due to work or other commitments.

“The issue is that there are not enough competitions.

“Even though we had organized local competitions like the badminton circuit for example for some sports like football where you have to play the game to gauge the standard of the players as it is a game requiring teamwork.

“Unlike athletics, the performance can be measured by the time and the distance can be measured.

“Even in wushu, you need competitions as these competitions cannot compete among ourselves.

Dr Ong who had organized a zoom meeting due to the Covid-19 and the SOP said these meetings for the coaches are effective but the only problem is that the athletes cannot be assessed as there are no competitions so no KPI can be obtained.

Sarawak can only organize local competitions with strict SOP rulings such as no spectators to be present.

Dr Ong agrees that the other States are also having the same problems.

Except for badminton, where they had organized a circuit competition for the first time, the statewide competitions can be held in the Green Zone areas although the strict SOP can be organised but with no spectators.

He said the date for the next Sukma is a proposed date, it should be allowed as the State directors will meet to make the final decisions soon and to decide on other pressing matters like the age eligibility or the SOP rules. -DayakDaily