Sarawak ready to bring back ‘overall champion’ prestige for Sukma 2016
By Jude Toyat
The 2016 Malaysia Games (Sukma) could become the year Sarawak brings back the prestige of becoming overall champion since its last triumphant outing in 1994.
Sarawak Sukma contingent chef-de-mission Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah pinned high hopes on this year’s athletes.
“This year, our goal is to get a total of 72 gold medals, as well as to become the overall champion for Sukma 2016. Hopefully it will be a great year for us as we hope to achieve the coveted title for the fourth time since its establishment in 1986,” said Abdul Karim when met in Kuching recently.
Abdul Karim, who is also the Assistant Minister for Youth and Sports emphasised that to achieve their goal of becoming the overall champion, each competing sport was given the opportunity to choose their coaches two years ago.
The athletes were provided with training, both locally and internationally, to gain more exposure and enable them to become highly competitive for the upcoming games.
“We are very well prepared for Sukma 2016,” Abdul Karim added.
When asked to name the sports that he looks forward to winning gold, Abdul Karim named wushu, Taekwondo, silat, petanque, volleyball, and cycling.
“Those are the games that we really hope to get gold medals. Other games like rythmic gymnastics are still in its early stage for our state. Nevertheless, we are still hoping for the best of every sport that will compete in Sukma 2016,” he added.
Abdul Karim thanked all supporting bodies and agencies that have provided the contingent with sponsorship including Rapid KL which has provided a total of 25 buses to ferry the athletes to the sports venues which include the Sarawak Aquatics Centre in Petra Jaya.
“The state government spent approximately RM400 million to improve the sports infrastructures here, the biggest budget for Sukma so far. Thus, we do hope that it will really help us to achieve our ultimate target to become the overall champion.”
Abdul Karim said that as the organiser of Sukma 2016, the state government assured that there will be no issue of doping among athletes this year.
“There are bodies that are dealing with the issue of doping. Every athlete needs to need to go through a series of medical checkups that will include urine tests and random testing,” he said.
Sukma 2016 will witness a total of 24 sports to be competed and held at several areas in Kuching, Samarahan, Sibu, and Miri. The opening ceremony will take place on July 23 and the closing ceremony on July 31, both to be held at the Sarawak Stadium.
The games include aquatics, diving, swimming, archery, athletics, badminton, bowling, boxing, cycling, football, golf, gymnastics, hockey, karate, lawn bowls, petanque, sepak takraw, shooting, pencak silat, squash, sailing, Taekwondo, tennis, volleyball, wushu, and weightlifting.
Several activities were organised to promote the Games, including the Meet-And-Greet events held in on May 14, May 21 and July 1 in Sibu, Miri, and Kuching, respectively. Other events include Sukma Sarawak 2016 Baton Run launched on March 31 in Lawas, and on April 23 in Kuching.
The 100-day countdown to Sukma 2016 was held on April 10 at Kuching Sentral.