Sunday, August 9

Sarawak wushu centre up within two years

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Karim (fourth right, standing at second row) and wife Datin Zuraini Abdul Jabbar (third right), Ong (fifth right) with (from second left) WFS deputy president James Ting Ing Seek, president Allen Wong Siew Poh, MSNS sports wushu development officer Thomas Chia, WFS committee members, coaches, guests and athletes wish for a very Happy and Prosperous Chinese New Year.

KUCHING: The much awaited wushu centre for Sarawak will be completed within two years.

Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said the RM12 million facility will further boost wushu development in the state.

“It is inside the Sarawak Sports Complex and it has already been approved by the State government. We are going for tender soon and hopefully the construction will start soon this year.

“In less than two years, we should see a proper wushu centre, a big hall where we can have training and organise local, state or regional competitions there,” he told reporters at the Wushu Federation of Sarawak (WFS) Chinese Lunar New Year celebration at its premises at Tabuan Laru yesterday.

When asked on his expectations for wushu at the Johor Sukma this July, Karim said wushu is expected to do well as in every Sukma, the sport had not failed to deliver gold medals for the Sarawak contingent.

“Wushu is one of the sports that I am not really too worried about because the WFS, led by Allen Wong, has very committed committee members and coaches and they are very passionate about developing wushu in Sarawak.

“I hope the officials in other sports associations would be like what we see in wushu,” he added.

Earlier, Karim expressed confidence that the problem of the Wuhan coronavirus will be overcome soon looking at the way how the China authorities is handling it.

“I know that WFS used to send athletes to China for training and exposure and this will be affected by the novel coronavirus outbreak.

“There is a need to monitor our athletes because we don’t want them to fall sick due to this virus,” he said.

On another note, Karim said he was pleased to see that more people from other races are taking up wushu and he hoped that the WFS would strive harder to bring the sport to greater heights.

“Wushu is now an open sport and I believe that with this kind of effort by WFS to encourage more people of different races and religions in developing wushu, we can go far,” he said.

Meanwhile, Sarawak Sports Corporation CEO Dr Ong Kong Swee advised that if the Sarawak athletes are not able to go to China for their training and exposure, there are other alternatives.

“We will wait until the novel coronavirus situation gets better or is over and our Plan B is to send the athletes to Vietnam probably in April.

“We chose Vietnam because they won three gold medals at the Philippines SEA Games last year. I learnt that their coach from China, Huang Shaoxiong, was previously our Sarawak coach.

“Only the potential medalists will be going for the overseas training stint. They will go straight to Johor after the intensive training stint,” he said.

Ong, who is also Sarawak State Sports Council director, assured WFS of the full support by SSC and MSNS for their preparation for Sukma 2020.

“To all the coaches and athletes, do what you are aiming for and we will give you the support.

“For those athletes who will be overaged after this Sukma, we are looking to provide them assistance with their career paths,” he added.

Ong also pledged support to WFS to organise a bigger and better Wuwang Cup International Invitation Wushu Championship in December.