Kuching out to dethrone Miri


KUCHING: The Kuching athletes are capable of wrestling the overall championship crown from athletics powerhouse Miri at the Sarawak Schools Sports Council (MSSS) Track and Field Championship in Miri from April 11 to 14.

WE CAN DO IT: Kuching contingent after a motivation session for the MSS Sarawak Track and Field Championship in Miri.

Contingent leader Bedui Une said Kuching can do better this year when compared to last year where they lost to Miri by a mere five gold medals to finish as runners-up.

“I strongly believe that you all can do it and do Kuching proud by becoming the overall champions this year,” he told the athletes during a motivation session at SMK Tabuan Jaya State Sports School on Friday.

Bedui, who is the Kuching District Education Officer, said the 137 athletes including 66 girls were special because they were selected from the over 100,000 students in Kuching.

This is also the first time that Kuching are sending such a big contingent.

Two of the athletes Clearancy Jossem and Chang Shing Yin who are studying at Bukit Jalil Sports School will fly in from Kuala Lumpur to Miri to join the team there.

Bedui said it was unfortunate that 15 selected athletes could not join the team due to some reason or another otherwise Kuching would be a stronger team to contend with.

“As such, we are banking on you all to do your very best at the championship and win us glory and honour,” he said, adding that incentives will be awarded to the team if they finish champions in the four-day state athletics meet.

“If you win 27 gold medals, you will get RM2,000 and if you win the championship I will top it up with another RM2,000,” he announced.

Bedui hoped that the athletes, coaches and officials would work closely together and support each other to achieve their target.

Meanwhile, chief coach Rasia Lutang is upbeat that Kuching can win the overall championship title this year.

“Team morale, spirit and confidence are very high and we are well prepared. The athletes have completed two weeks of intensive training under their respective 15 coaches,” she said.

Rasia said Kuching can win the title this time based on the fact that many of Miri gold medallists last year like sprinter Ambrose Jilom and hepathlete Kee Siew Lian and Sarikei’s hammer throw gold medallist Jackie Wong are not competing in this year’s meet because they are overaged.

“We are also very strong in the track events and we are banking on the boys to win most of the golds,” she added.

She is expecting boys Mohd Arif Zulhilmi Alet, Roger Rambi, Adam Chrisnal Dicky, Wingdi Lapuk, Mohd Hardil Haron, Mohd Fazillah Kamis, Chai Kai Soon and girls Shelma Sharon Anthony James, Sarah Chuo and Asfarina Jitwil to do well in Miri.

“We are also expecting a very stiff competition especially from defending champions Miri and last year third place Sibu,” said the sports teacher from SMK Tabuan Jaya State Sports School.

The Kuching team are managed by Md Rashid Ahmad from SMK Semerah Padi and he is assisted by Shazali Rosdi from SK Green Road.

Last year, Miri topped the championship with 32 golds, 36 silvers and 21 bronzes to amass 430 points while Kuching had 27 golds, 21 silvers and 24 bronzes for 357 points and third-placed Sibu won 15 golds, 18 silvers and 28 bronzes to accumulate 294.5 points.

A total of 854 athletes from 11 divisions are taking part in the championship hosted by Miri.

Four categories of boys and girls will be competing — the U-18, U-15, U-14 and U-12.