What’s my age again?
Posted on January 7, 2010, Thursday
Tennis chief wants Sukma cap to prevent host from gaining unfair advantage
KUCHING: The Sukma Supreme Council should standardise the ‘age eligibility’ for tennis once and for all.Sarawak Lawn Tennis Association (SLTA) president Patrick Liew, who made the call yesterday, said this was necessary to prevent the ruling on age being manipulated by the host state.
“The general rule for age eligibility in Sukma is 23 but the host state can, if it wants to, lower it to 21,” he added.
As such, Liew pointed out, it would be unfair to the others should the host state lower the age just because it had better young players.
Previous Sukma gold medallists who were either 22 or 23 now would be blocked by such a move from taking part and this would give the host state an unfair advantage of winning more gold medals in its bid to lift the overall championship title.
Liew, who is also a Sukma assistant chef de mission, said he had received confirmation from National Sports Council of tennis’ inclusion as one of the events at Sukma XIII in Melaka from May 29 to June 8.
“It is now only a matter of deciding on the age eligibility and the Supreme Council will do this at a meeting on Friday (tomorrow).”
Liew said Sarawak, which won three gold and five silver medals at the 2008 Sukma in Terengganu, would be badly affected if the age limit was lowered.
“We stand to lose at least five gold medals because our players Razlan Rawi, Gilbert Yeo and Kelvin Lee, Aileen Tsan and Michelle Liew are all 23 years old.”
Other potential Sukma players include Chong Zhia Hwa, Oscar Chang, Ariez Elyas Deen Heshaam, Mohd Assri Merzuki, Shirley Ling, Wena Tsan, Choo Lyn Yuen and her sister Lyn Lee.
The state Sukma team will comprise five men and five women for the singles, doubles, mixed doubles and team events.
“If the age eligibility stays at 23, I’m confident we can win six gold and five silver medals but if it is 21, we will only have a 50-50 chance of winning the overall title,” Liew said.
He said the only gold medal out of Sarawak’s reach was that of the women’s singles as Malaysia’s top ranked player Jawairiah Noordin would be competing.