KUCHING: Sarawak will be sending 837 athletes and officials to Sukan Malaysia (Sukma) Johor next July in the bid to regain the elusive overall Sukma champion title after last winning it in 1994.
The state contingent, comprising 678 athletes, 57 team mangers and 102 officials, will take part in 32 events divided into compulsory and optional sports.
Compulsory sports include aquatics (swimming and diving) archery, athletics, badminton, cycling, football, gymnastics (artistic and rhythmic) hockey, karate, lawn bowls, tenpin bowling, sailing, shooting, silat, squash and wushu.
Whereas the optional sports to be contested are basketball, boxing, canoeing, cricket, e-sports, golf, judo, muay, netball, petanque, rugby, sepak takraw, tennis, volleyball, weightlifting.
“We are in the final phase of preparing for Sukma Johor and our sports development officers are constantly monitoring the progress on the training of our athletes.
“In fact, our preparations had started right after the Sukma Perak last year.
“The teams are yet to be finalised because we may be able to discover more talented athletes in Sukan Sarawak (Suksar) in Miri next week and only the best shall go to Johor,” Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah told reporters after chairing a Sukma meeting at the Pandelela Rinong Aquatic Centre yesterday.
First phase of the centralised training will commence on Feb 11 to June 10 next year, with the Athletes Camp scheduled for Mar 21 to 25 at Youth Camp Pueh in Sematan and the final Sarawak Contingent Camp in Kuching from Jun 16 to 18.
The minister said Sarawak will be targeting to capture more than 40 gold medals which is quite similar to hosts Johor whose target is 44 gold medals.
“We are also making appeals to the Sukma Supreme Council to reinstate the sports dropped such as taekwondo which have consistently contributed many gold medals to the Sarawak Contingent in Sukma.
“As for weightlifting where we are also strong, we are appealing for the number of events to be increased especially in the heavyweight divisions.
“Currently, only four gold each is offered for the men’s and women’s categories. I understand 10 other other states are also appealing,” added Karim.
Although the hosts has the right to chose what sports are to be competed at the national biennial games, Karim hoped that they would be fair to other states.
“These are the regular sports that are being commonly competed at SEA Games, Asian Games, Commonwealth Games.
“Like in canoeing, there were only 18 categories and now you have 36 events. I believe they (Johor) must be well prepared to win many gold medals in this sport,” he pointed out.
Karim said the post of the Sarawak Contingent Chef De Mission will be decided in the Sarawak Cabinet meeting later.
The majority of the Sukma Johor events will be held in Johor Bahru (28) while Muar and Kota Tinggi will host three canoeing, weightlifting and demonstration sport silambam) and two (cycling and sailing) events respectively.