KUCHING: The official countdown to Sarawak’s 2016 Sukma XVIII started ticking yesterday, with the Sarawak contingent braced to do the state colours proud.
“The 2016 Sukma XVIII is exactly one year from today. This is a final notice to all our coaches, participants, athletes and everybody involved, that we are heading towards a very big sporting event, and we have a mission that we cannot fail,” said Minister of Social Development Tan Sri William Mawan Ikom who started the clock ticking down to next year.
“This is a very important moment to Sarawak. The last time Sukma was held here was in 1990 when we did splendidly well and it was a great victory.
“And now that we are the host, the only way that we can go is upward.
“And there is no question of not winning, it is just a matter of how we win. Whether we win handsomely, with glory and with the Sarawak flag flying high,” Mawan told a news conference after the launch at Baitul Makmur in Petra Jaya here.
Sukma XVIII will be held in Sarawak from July 22 to 31, 2016, expecting to draw over 5,000 athletes and 1,000 officials and coaches from throughout Malaysia as well as Brunei. The official opening is fixed for July 23, 2016.
Mawan believed most facilities which would be utilised for the largest sporting event in the country were “very near completion” while the training of athletes had come to “the final touch” for the 24 events.
“And I am sure the various managers, people in-charge of conditioning the athletes are fully prepared. We are just 365 days away, everyone must be up for it. We have prepared ourselves just to make sure we win.
“Given the home advantage, I do not think we should have a lot of room to complain. There is no way we should complain. The only source of complaint will be ourselves. So I need the support, be it morale, technical and even financial from all.”
“Our people too are very lucky as Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem is always very concerned about development of sports,” said Mawan who added that Sukma could also forge closer ties among all Malaysians as well as athletes from neighbouring Brunei besides being a shot-in-the-arm for tourism and the economy.
Meanwhile, State Secretary Tan Sri Mohd Morshidi Abdul Ghani, who is heading the organising committee, said the aquatics centre would soon be completed while the badminton court in Sibu was in the midst of construction.
“Badminton and volleyball will be held in Sibu while karate and sailing will be in Miri. The rest will all be held in Kuching, and so we expect all these facilities to be ready for Sukma.”
Morshidi added that Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) had been named the official Games Village while a media centre would be set up at the State Stadium.
Also present at the launch was Assistant Minister for Sports Datuk Lee Kim Shin, who is co-heading the organising committee.
In Sukma XVIII, 19 events are compulsory sports and five others are optional. The compulsory sports are aquatics (swimming and diving), weightlifting, badminton, cycling, football, hockey, karate, lawn bowls, archery, shooting, athletics, silat, tenpin bowling, wushu, volleyball (indoor and beach), tennis, squash, sepak takraw and taekwondo.
The five optional sports are petanque, golf, gymnastics, boxing and optimist sailing.
Notably, Sarawak was Sukma champion in 1990, 1992 and 1994.