KUCHING (Aug 29): Sarawak’s 840-member strong contingent heading to the 20th Malaysian Games (Sukma) must possess the winning mentality to be crowned the overall champion of the competition, said Sarawak Minister of Youth, Sports and Entrepreneur Development Dato Sri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah.
Abdul Karim said this 20th edition of Sukma presents a golden opportunity for Sarawak to become the overall champion as the state’s athletes are in top shape and well-prepared to face their counterparts from other states.
“Even though I am not the Chef de Mission this time, I do very much monitor the progress of our athletes, whether they are training in Sarawak or outside. I believe there are some surprises that will come this time and these are the ones we are hoping for.”
Abdul Karim said this during a dinner hosted at a local hotel here last night to brief assistants Chef de Mission, team managers and coaches of the state’s contingent on the upcoming Sukma competition.
The 20th Sukma will be held in Kuala Lumpur over a nine-day period from Sept 16 to 24.
He said state’s official target for gold medals is 44, the minister said the number is quite conservative as the state will need to clinch at least 55 gold medals to be crowned the overall champion, based on the records of past Sukma competitions.
Terengganu won the last Sukma competition in Perak back in 2018 after winning 56 gold medals, he added.
On a related note, Abdul Karim shared with those present that the Sukma competition held in 2016 in Sarawak was the closest chance for the state to claim the elusive title of being the overall champion, but it was eventually won by Selangor with 59 gold medals. Sarawak came in second with 57.
Despite so, the minister said the state has been a formidable sports powerhouse in the Sukma competition by being consistently listed as the top five states with the most gold medals in each edition of the game.
“Our teams have always been very well-prepared. Our team spirit and the way we manage the teams, from the assistants Chef de Mission, team managers and all the way down to the athletes, have been very thorough,” said Abdul Karim,
He said the state contingent’s teams had carried out meetings and post-mortem almost every night during the past Sukma competitions.
Thus, Abdul Karim stressed to all the assistants Chef de Mission, team managers and coaches to ensure the well-being of the state’s athletes, whether physically or mentally, when participating in the competitions.
He said arrangements on accommodation, transportations and food preparations must be properly taken care of so that the athletes can fully focus on bringing glory to the state after touching down in Kuala Lumpur.
Abdul Karim also shared his experience in managing the athletes with those present as he had accompanied the state’s contingent to the last 10 editions of the Sukma competition over a 20-year period.
Abdul Karim believed that Sarawak Premier Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg might travel to Kuala Lumpur for Sukma to support the state’s contingent and visit their sports venues.
The Chef de Mission for the Sarawak Sukma’s contingent is Deputy Minister I Dato Gerald Rentap Jabu and deputy Chef de Mission is Nancy Jolhi.
Among those who attended the dinner was Deputy Minister II Dr Ripin Lamat.