Abang Johari (centre) flanked by wife Juma’ani and other ministers celebrate the achievements of Sarawak athletes at this year’s SEA Games and Asean Para Games. — Photos by Muhd Rais Sanusi.

Abang Johari presents an incentive to Pandelela as Abdul Karim (second right) and Fatimah (right) look on.

KUCHING: The state government will identify a few sports venues to be further developed to enhance the performance of Sarawak athletes.

This was announced by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Dr Abang Johari Tun Openg who added that a well-equipped sports complex near the State Stadium in Petra Jaya will also be built.

“In the 11th Malaysia Plan, we will be identifying a few sports arena which can be developed so to provide a better environment for our athletes,” he said.

“I also observed that there are still government lands near the State Stadium and we are going to develop a complex equipped with all kinds of sports facilities,” he revealed.

With a quality sports infrastructure, Abang Johari believes, Sarawak can become the sports powerhouse to strengthen the performance of athletes and host international events.

He highlighted this in a pre-recorded video which was broadcast at the appreciation reception for Sarawak athletes held at a leading hotel here Tuesday night.

The reception was to recognise and celebrate the achievements of Sarawak medallists at the 29th SEA Games and 9th Asean Para Games held in Kuala Lumpur this year.

“I also saw our athletes break new records… As such, the government is committed to fulfill our responsibilities and prepare first class facilities for us to continue our efforts to produce world class and quality athletes,” he said.

Meanwhile, Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youths and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah believed the incentives given by state government were a boost for athletes to work harder and scale greater heights.

The appreciation reception saw 24 SEA Games athletes and 27 disabled athletes received cash incentives totalling RM557,000.

Abang Johari, Abdul Karim, Minister of Welfare, Community Well Being, Women, Family and Childhood Development Dato Sri Fatimah Abdullah and Assistant Minister for Youth and Sports Datuk Snowdan Lawan gave out the incentives to the athletes.

They were rewarded with cash incentives of RM10,000, RM7,000 and RM5,000 for a gold, silver or bronze medal.

State athletes won 13 gold, two silver and 16 bronze medals at the SEA Games and 10-19-21 at the Asean Para Games.

Swimmers were the biggest winners of the night with Welson Sim Wee Seng receiving the biggest windfall of RM32,000 while para swimmers Mohd Adib Iqbal Abdullah and Anderson Jamba pocketed RM29,000 and RM27,000 respectively.

Other top performers in the swimming team included Fraidden Dawan (RM25,000), Jamery Siga (RM22,000), Julius Jaranding (RM21,000) and Ting Jin Ping (RM21,000) while diving diva Pandelela Rinong walked away with RM20,000.

Among the non-swimmers who won big were Wushu exponent Loh Jack Chang (RM20,000) and track and field athlete Davis Machang (RM19,000).

Abang Johari’s wife Datin Patinggi Hajjah Juma’ani Tuanku Bujang, Minister in the Chief Minister’s Department (Integrity and Ombudsman) Datuk Talib Zulpilip, Assistant Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Datuk Lee Kim Shin, Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports permanent secretary Dato Ik Pahon Joyik and Sarawak Sports Council director Dr Ong Kong Swee were also among those present.