Abdul Karim (right) chairs the meeting at the Pandelela Rinong Aquatic Centre on Tuesday. Snowdan is on his right.
KUCHING: Minister of Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah has reminded all sports associations to ramp up their preparations for the Malaysia Games (Sukma) to be held in Johor from March 6 to 14 next year.
“We have just over 200 days to prepare … So we need to focus on that and to become the overall champion when the time comes,” he said.
By next March it will be 29 years since Sarawak last captured the overall title at the 4th edition of the national games in 1992.
The upcoming 20th Sukma was originally scheduled for July but postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic and Movement Control Order (MCO).
“We are running out of time to prepare for the mission where Sarawak should be champion in Sukma Johor.
“I want to see Sarawak win the title because we have been trying to achieve it for so long,” the minister told representatives of sports associations at a meeting on June 16 held at the Pandelela Rinong Aquatic Centre in Petra Jaya.
He added that the Sarawak Government had agreed to reopen the sports complex for Sukma Sarawak athletes to train on June 17 subject to them complying with the stipulated Standard Operating Procedures (SOP).
Also present at the meeting were Assistant Minister of Youth and Sports Datuk Snowdan Lawan, Acting Permanent Secretary to Ministry of Youth and Sports Ministry Nancy Jolhie and Sarawak Sports Corporation (SSC) chief executive officer Dr Ong Kong Swee.
Abdul Karim told the meeting that some of the sports facilities such as swimming pools are still closed to the public but are only opened to the state athletes for their training and preparation.
Local players who will be competing in rugby and football are also be allowed to train again provided they adhere to the SOPs set by the health authorities.
Officials and coaches were asked to keep the athletes prepared and stay positive while training in the new normal environment.
The minister rallied the management team, associations, coaches and athletes in the Sarawak contingent to mount a strong challenge in Johor next March.
He also attended a swimming and diving training session held at the Pandelela Rinong Aquatic Centre and expressed satisfaction with the level of SOP compliance agreed by the Sarawak State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) and the Ministry of Health Malaysia (MOH).
He was able to interact with the diving and swimming coaches while reminding them to constantly monitor not only the development but also the health and safety of their athletes.