KUCHING, March 18: The Sarawak women’s hockey team and a track cycling team are the only two sports teams from the state now currently training in Peninsular Malaysia.
Following the implementation of the restricted movement order to curb the spread of Covid-19 in the country, all travel to and outside Sarawak has been restricted but the two sports teams had set out before the restriction came into effect.
The hockey team which departed the state on March 9 traveled to the peninsula and are based in Klang, Selangor. They have already played two friendly matches against SSSM Selangor but further matches are now suspended.
The group of 14 led by their coach S Murthi Sakrunathan was initially scheduled to be based for a few months in the peninsula until the start of the Sukan Malaysia (Sukma) in July in Johor. They had orginally planned not to return to Kuching and spend the Hari Raya Aidilfitri and Gawai holidays on tour.
With the prevailing situation across the country, the team has taken precautions to mostly stay indoors, limiting excursions outdoor to the likes of buying supplies for their meals.
According to Sakrunathan, the players who are staying at a rented bungalow in Klang, do their own cooking and there are sponsors who help them to buy the vegetables and other items for their daily meals. These sponsors or volunteers are personal friends of the coach.
“We are listening to any advice from the MSN (Sarawak Sports Council) on any decisions and they have been in contact with us.
“We also received calls from parents and also our president Datin Mary Saadiah who is concerned for the welfare and safety of the players and are monitoring the situation.
“So far, so good, and we are going for regular checkups at a clinic which is located near our bungalow,” said Sakrunathan.
Sarawak and national hammerthrower Jackie Wong Siew Cheer had been reported as testing positive for the novel coronavirus after visiting his home in Sarikei recently.
He is the first Malaysian athlete to test positive for the virus.
Jackie, who won SEA Games gold in 2017 and a silver in the last SEA Games in the Philippinesis, is an undergraduate at a local university in the peninsula.
A spokesman from the Sarawak Sports Council said that it had given the directive for training to be halted especially for team sports which involve two or more athletes.
“Only those sports that involve individual sports like athletics are allowed to continue their training in preparation for the coming Sukma which is scheduled to be held in July but there is no confirmation that it will be postponed or even cancelled.”
He confirmed that the hockey and track cycling teams had traveled to Kuala Lumpur for exposure training and most likely the teams might be recalled.
He said that so far there were no meetings scheduled for the Sukma organising committee and the host Johor will decide on whether to go on as scheduled or make changes.
In another development, the Sarawak Chief Minister Cup (I) ITF World Tennis tournament which was held at the SLTA courts in Kuching had been called off due to the directive from the national tennis association.
The tournament which attract players from all over the world is officially suspended until April 20. — DayakDaily