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By Nancy Nais
SINIAWAN, Sept 24: Staging any events including sports during the Covid-19 pandemic is not easy and requires adaptations.
However, given the excellent efforts by the Sarawak government to have vaccinated almost 90 percent of the State’s total adult population, Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said more physical events can now be considered.
Abdul Karim, whose speech was read by Serembu assemblyman Miro Simuh at the launch of Sarawak Adventure Challenge (SAC) 2021 5th edition said he is confident that experienced event organisers will manage the Standard Operating Procedure (SOPs) well in accordance with guidelines from Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) to ensure everyone is kept safe.
“In this event which will be held on Nov 7, I was assured by its organiser Draco Action Sports that they will implement the appropriate race and event safety, health protocols and social distancing measures, including the use of electronic timing for the competitors.
“I am pleased to note that in setting the route, organiser has paid special attention to creating a race that uses local trails and paths that takes competitors through some of Sarawak’s spectacular local scenery. As the event is staged in rural areas, the local communities are consulted and involved from the start.
“The trail preparations, marking, safety and event marshaling all involve the local communities who are a major part and beneficiary of every event staged,” Abdul Karim said.
This year’s one-day multi-sport event involves mountain biking and trail running which will be held in the vicinity of Siniawan with distances of 40km for the biking and 12km for the running,
Each year the SAC promotes new venues with unique themes to create awareness about Sarawak’s attractions and adventure potential.
From the first year in Fairy Cave (The Lost Mines), the event has featured Singai (The Sacred Mountain), Lundu (Mountain to Coast), Serian (The Jade Cave) and now Siniawan (The Evolution Trail).
Calling sports tourism a very important aspect, Abdul Karim asserted that it has the possibility to involve local communities, culture and in so doing provides an excellent vehicle for promoting the State.
“Events such as the SAC are means to promote the adventure and recreation potential of the State, not only to international tourists but also to our local residents. This is evident from the increasing local participation in the event. The event is also an excellent platform for highlighting the spectacular scenery and natural attractions Sarawak has to offer.
“Since the first year, I have been informed that the event has grown in popularity and has attracted participants from throughout the region including Brunei, Singapore, West Malaysia, Indonesia, Hong Kong, China, and Taiwan.
“In 2020, the event attracted 250 participants but because of the travel restrictions, was limited to Sarawak only. Even with these restrictions, the event was successfully held with about 240 locals enjoying the challenge,” he said.
For this year’s event, the theme was chosen as a tribute to the local communities and the area’s significant history.
Their history includes the communities that call Bung Muan their home; the people who live along the river; the miners who came and settled here; the supporting business; and the tourists.
Abdul Karim added that back in the 1850s, Siniawan and the communities of Bung Muan were one of Sarawak’s earliest tourism attractions, even attracting a famous collector and scientist, Alfred Russel Wallace who spent some of his time there and hence, he believed the theme of this year’s race is in reference to the latter’s contribution to evolution.— DayakDaily