KUCHING: The Sarawak Sports Corporation and sports associations have been asked to be as focused as possible as the state switches its attention to the 2020 Malaysia Games (Sukma) to be held in Johor.
Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said it remains the hope of the Sarawak government that Sarawak win the overall Sukma title.
He believed Sarawak can do better in Johor in view of the fact that there are many Sarawakians living and working in Johor.
“With about 50,000 Sarawakians based in Johor, I am very sure when Sukma is held there, we will have a lot of supporters rallying behind out athletes down there.
“Hopefully, with everyone doing their best plus the strong support from our fellow Sarawakians in Johor, we will bring back the elusive title from there,” he said yesterday during the ceremony to handing over cash incentives to the Sarawak Sukma XIX medal winners.
Abdul Karim’s optimism for Sarawak chances in the next edition of Sukma 2020 also rests on other factors.
He said about 73 per cent of the athletes who competed in Perak Sukma about two months ago are still eligible for the next games.
It was also revealed that about 42 per cent of Sarawak’s tally of 42 gold medals won in Perak were contributed by first timers while 33 per cent of the 56 silver medals were contributed by the new pool of athletes.
“With proper training, we can indeed turn these silver medal winners to the gold medallists in Johor,” he said.
Abdul Karim recognised that it has become more challenging to become Sukma overall champion.
As every state is given the opportunity to host the games, all have developed good facilities to enhance their chances.
“But some how Sarawak has always been performing within the top three or the top five. We have never gone below the fifth placing for the last 27 years.
“Actually we are always that state that is to be reckoned with. Other states are always very weary of Sarawak because when it comes to Sukma we always approach it with passionate focus but still that elusive overall title has not been able to be brought back to our shore.
Sarawak won 42 gold, 36 silver and 60 bronze medals to finish fourth overall in the last Sukma.