State govt to review incentives for Sarawakian athletes who shine on global stage

Abang Johari speaks at the Ministry of Youth and Sports Sarawak Appreciation Night 2020.

By Karen Bong

KUCHING, Feb 18: The state government will review and increase the incentives for Sarawakian athletes who have excelled internationally.

Announcing this, Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg hopes it will motivate more young athletes with potential in the state to train harder and aim higher especially at major games and international sporting events.

“Normally after all the championships, we would give awards (to athletes), so if we win (our court case against) Petronas, we can give more lah.

“Nevertheless, we will review all the incentives for our sportsmen who have excelled internationally (so as) to motivate more young sportsmen to aim for international events,” he told the attendees at the Ministry of Youth and Sports Sarawak Appreciation Night 2020 event tonight.

Abang Johari presenting an incentive to Stephanie Ensol who won two gold and two silver medals at the IPF Asian Powering Championship at Kazakhstan.

More importantly, Abang Johari reiterated, the state government will not hesitate to invest in building facilities to support the skill and performance development of athletes and teams.

“The state government has agreed under the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP) to build the High Performance Sports Centre in Kuching which will be fully equipped with facilities for athletes to train,” he emphasised.

Providing athletes with a suitable environment, he pointed out, will enable athletes to focus on training and perfecting their skills to excel at major competitions like Sukma Games.

“With good facilities and programmes for their training, they can prepare well physically and mentally to participate in events and meets.

“Pandelela Rinong is an example who focused on her diving training that resulted in excellent performance,” he said.

Sharing some of the feedback gathered during various youth programmes including Jelajah Belia, Abang Johari emphasised that the state government will also look into the possibility of preparing young Sarawakians for more extreme and challenging sports.

Abang Johari (standing second left) flanked by Abdul Karim on his right and Snowdan on his left in a group photo with the 24 incentive recipients.

Noting that there were many requests for sports complexes, football fields and bike tracks to be built, he said there were new areas which reflected the youths’ interests.

“We will also upgrade traditional sports such as football, gasing, sepak takraw, wushu and the likes. And as time goes by, we will upgrade all training facilities and participate in new sports including e-sports which has gained popularity in recent years.

“The youth programmes were important platforms for us to gather feedback and data so that the state government can design and attune policies and plans to the needs of youth in Sarawak,” he added.

The event also witnessed the presentation of incentives to 24 athletes who won medals at Southeast Asian Games (SEA) 2019 and international championships last year.

Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Rahman Karim Hamzah and his assistant Datuk Snowdan Lawan were among those present. — DayakDaily