Sarawak is ready for Malaysia Sports for the Deaf
By Patricia Hului
Sukan Orang Pekak Malaysia (Sopma) or the Malaysian Sports for the Deaf is the only sporting event at the national level meant for the deaf.
It was held first in 1983 and is the principal sporting event for the deaf in country.
The last Sopma was organised in June 2014 in Melaka and the biennial event is coming to Sarawak this September.
During the February 21 closing ceremony of the Sopma state contingents meeting cum launching of Sopma 2016 Sarawak’s website, the president of Sarawak Deaf Sports Association (SSDeaf) Albert Wong Tuong Chai said through an interpreter he is thankful for the help and supports SSDeaf received from Malaysian Deaf Sports Association (MSDeaf).
“This will be the first time Sarawak to play host for Sopma and with the help of MSDeaf, we will successfully organise it.”
There will be four categories during this event namely badminton, men’s football, ten pin bowling and athletics.”
MSDeaf president Kamarzaman Hj Harun announced that the national arm of the association would provide technical support for this coming Sopma.
“Our sports event is different from normal sports. We emphasise more on the sight hence we use lighting and flags instead of whistles in our games.
“For example in the athletic games, we will be using unique starting lights specifically designed for the deaf athletes,” he said.
Kamarzaman also added that they expected about 1,200 to 1,500 participants including the athletes, volunteers and Exco members during the event.
The event also saw the memorandum signing between secretary of SSDeaf Helen Chung Teng Teng and Ong Shin Ruenn secretary of MSDeaf, signifying Sarawak as the official host of XIX Sopma.
Through Sopma, athletes are selected to represent Malaysia at international sporting events for the deaf like the Asia Pacific Deaf Games and Deaflympics Games.