KUCHING: There should not be any obstacle for Sarawak to host international bodybuilding events, says Datuk Snowdan Lawan.
The Assistant Minister of Youth and Sports told reporters this when met at the homecoming ceremony for Sarawak bodybuilders Buda Anchah, Dr Malvern Abdullah and Philomena Dexclyn Siar at the Kuching International Airport (KIA) late Thursday.
The three athletes were among members of the Malaysian team who competed in the just-concluded 53rd Asian Bodybuilding and Physique Sports Championships held in Batam, Indonesia, where they brought home two gold, three silver and one bronze medals.
“I don’t see why not. Sarawak has been hosting a number of large-scale international events and we should be able to hold a bodybuilding event of a scale like the Asian championships, which involved over 300 athletes from 28 countries.
“I believe it is high time for that, seeing that our elite athletes like Buda and Dr Malvern have been performing very well in the tournament.
“In this regard, perhaps we should seek assistance from the SBBA (Sarawak Bodybuilding Association) and the MBBF (Malaysian Bodybuilding Association) to arrange bidding for future hosting of these events,” said Snowdan, who was accompanied by Kuching South Mayor Dato Wee Hong Seng, who is also SBBA president, and Sarawak Sports Corporation (SSC) Sport Development Unit manager Ahmad Rodzli Hashim.
Ahmad Rodzli represented Sarawak State Sports Council (MSNS) director Dr Ong Kong Swee, who is also SSC chief executive officer.
On a related matter, Snowdan assured the athletes that he would discuss with Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah regarding possible incentives and further funding for them in view of their commendable performance at the Asian championships.
“They definitely deserve it, in that they not only bring pride to Sarawak, but also to the nation.
“Moreover, Buda and Dr Malvern have been making Malaysia proud for many years – every time I see them, there are always some medals that they would bring home. I understand that they will once again represent the nation at the world championships, to be held in South Korea early November,” he said.
Snowdan also assured Wee that he would seriously look into increasing the annual grant for SBBA, considering the association’s immense role in developing Sarawak bodybuilding.
“It is also high time for this. I understand that the SBBA receives annual grant of RM20,000 from the Sarawak government and I believe it is justifiable to increase this allocation.
“Nevertheless, this would have to be discussed first, but it will be discussed,” he added.
At the Batam meet, Buda brought home a silver medal from the Men’s Bodybuilding Masters (40-49 Years) Up to 80kg category, and a bronze medal from Men’s Bodybuilding 70kg category; while Malvern bagged the silver medal from Men’s Bodybuilding 60kg category.
Philomena placed among the top five contestants in both Women’s Model Physique (Up to 165cm) and Model Physique (30-40 Years) categories.
The gold medals for Malaysia were contributed by Mohd Syarul Azman Mike Mahen Abdullah from the Men’s Athletic Physique Up to 167cm category, and Ahmad Faiz Ariffin from the Men’s Athletic Physique Up to 175cm category.
The other silver medal was clinched by Zmarul Al Adam Pulutan Abdullah in the Men’s Bodybuilding 70-75kg category.
The 53rd edition of the Asian championships was organised by Asian Bodybuilding and Physique Sports Federation – an affiliate of the World Bodybuilding and Physique Sports Federation (WBPF) – and hosted by All-Indonesia Bodybuilding and Weightlifting Association.
It involved over 300 athletes and 200 officials from 28 countries across Asia.
The WBPF has announced that the next Asian meet will take place in Maldives on Sept 5-11 next year.
Meanwhile, this year’s world championships will be held in the Jeju Island of South Korea, from Nov 5 to 11.