Saturday, April 17

Minister wants Para Sukma, Sopma-bound athletes to be vaccinated

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Fatimah, accompanied by Francis (second right), Abu (second left) and officials, watches shot put athlete Rebecca Dawi in training.

KUCHING: Dato Sri Fatimah Abdullah wants all athletes set to compete at Para Sukma and Malaysia Deaf Games (Sopma) next year to be vaccinated under the National Covid-19 Vaccination Programme.

The Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Minister suggested that team managers and coaches list down all participating athletes and register them as a big group with the authorities.

“Para Sukma and Sopma athletes are under the OKU category included in the second phase of vaccination along with senior citizens and those with cold morbidity after the first phase which is for the frontliners. We want them to get protected from the Covid-19,” Fatimah said during a visit to Para Sukma training session at the Youth and Sports Complex along Jalan Tun Ahmad Zaidi Adruce yesterday.

“OKU associations and bodies are also urged to register their members so that no one gets left out in the vaccination programme,” she added.

Para swimmers train at the Youth and Sports Complex.

The Dalat assemblywoman said the sports complex was the most ideal training venue for the athletes because of the good facilities and they could also stay in the hostel.

“Our athletes are able to resume their normal training since March 15 and before this they were forced to train at home since last December due to the rise in positive cases.

“Training at home and training here is different because when the athletes gather here, they can support, encourage and motivate each other to achieve their goal in Para Sukma Johor and Sopma next year,” she said.

However, the athletes will have to strictly observe the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) at all times when in the facility and when they are in the community.

Fatimah said a catch-up plan was necessary and vital because some of the athletes have put on weight and their flexibility had deteriorated after being unable to undergo normal training.

Discus thrower Fatimah Wagimin during training session. – Bernama photo

She said the athletes who are daily paid workers will each be given a monthly allowance of between RM400 and RM1,500 to subsidise their income while undergoing training.

“As announced earlier, our target is to win 60 gold, 45 silver and 35 bronze medals and become overall champions for the 14th time while the target for Sopma is to win six golds and better the overall third placing achieved in Perak in 2018,’” she added.

Also present were Assistant Minister of Community Wellbeing Datuk Francis Harden Hollis and Youth and Sports Department Sarawak assistant director Abu Zaid Abu Bakar.