Thursday, August 22

‘Accommodate the disabled in sports events’

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Yahya (left), Mr Bean (second left), Fatimah (second right) and Koh (right) posing with the Sarawak mascot, the ‘Hornbill’, while showing the finishing medals of the run.

KUCHING: Ministry of Welfare, Women and Community Wellbeing encourages people with special needs to participate in sports events in its bid to build a more inclusive society.

As such, its minister Datuk Fatimah Abdullah advised that sporting events such as runs should not have any restrictions and be open to all so that everyone, able or disabled, can take part.

“It is very important for us in the spirit of 1Malaysia to make society as inclusive as possible and thus, breaking the barrier for disabled people.

“There is nothing that can stop them, whereas when there is an indication that they want to join, the organiser will make sure that the facilities and preparation will be made to cater for their needs,” she told a press conference after flagging off the inaugural Borneo Run at CityOne Megamall yesterday.

With all measures taken, people with disabilities should be encouraged to participate in any event, she added.

Commenting on the Borneo Run, Fatimah hoped it would serve to strengthen ties among Sabahans and Sarawakians, noting that the two states had a lot of similarities that could be used to foster greater integration and unity among them.

“It is a very good start and it should be continued and it is not easy to organise such a big event as the run is held concurrently with their counterpart in Sabah.”

A total of 1,800 Sarawakians and 2,400 Sabahans took part in the run, out of which 20 were disabled.

Meanwhile, Borneo Run director John Koh said the run had become a popular sporting event in the past two years nationwide and in Sarawak there was a growing number of runners.

He added that the objective of the run was to bring runners from Sarawak and Sabah together and the response was positive.

“We are really thankful that a lot of Sarawakians purposely flew back for this run and few Sabahans also participated in the Borneo Run here.

He pointed that the Borneo Run will be an annual affair for both Sabah and Sarawak.

There was a special appearance by Mr Bean Malaysia, who hails from Albania.

Others present at the press conference were Borneo Run advisor Yahya Iskandar and CityOne Megamall general manager Brandon Lo.