KUCHING (March 19): Dato Sri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah believes that Sarawak, as the host of the 2024 Malaysia Games (Sukma), can perform better than in the edition that the state hosted in 2016.
The Youth, Sport and Entrepreneur Development Minister said Sarawak had not emerged the champion for the national games for 30 years.
“It is too early for us to decide (our gold medals target) but I feel that we have good chances of getting (more) gold medals. 2024 Sukma will definitely be a better one as the one in 2016 was a bit rush due to State Cabinet reshuffle and all that.
“This time we will be much more prepared and we hope that with this kind of preparedness, we will emerge the champion as we have not been the champion for 30 years,” he said during a press conference after the 38th Premier Sarawak Cup’s prize presentation at the Sarawak Lawn Tennis Association’s (SLTA) Centre at Jalan Crookshank here today.
Also present was SLTA president Dato Patrick Liew.
Abdul Karim said Sarawak should focus on the preparation for the 2024 Sukma before setting its goal.
“We hope to see new potentials within this one year,” he said, adding that Sarawak aims at identifying more talents in sports such as fencing and gymnastics in the coming year.
He said he would like to see Sarawak contingent taking part in all the 32 sports which will be organised for the national games next year.
As for the gold medals target, he said: “We will see about it later.”
Among the sports for the 2024 Sukma are boxing, muay thai, petanque, e-sport, aquatics, weightlifting, badminton, cycling, gymnastics, golf, fencing, archery, shooting, athletics, sailing, hockey, table tennis, taekwondo, karate, sepak takraw, tenpin bowling, wushu, football, netball, volleyball and tennis.
It will be the third time Sarawak hosts 2024 Sukma after its first time in 1990 and second time in 2016.
On other 2024 Sukma-related matters, Abdul Karim said the state will work on improving sports facilities including tennis courts.
According to him, hosting the national games will serve as a platform for Sarawak to upgrade certain sports facilities.
“It is a good opportunity and reason for us to upgrade not just tennis courts but all the other sports facilities. Tennis is now one of the main events and won’t be dropped from Sukma,” he said.
Earlier at the prize presentation, Abdul Karim congratulated winners of the tournament while calling on other contenders who did not win the trophies to work hard on sharpening their skills.
“I hope you all have had a good time in the matches. If you’re still here in the next couple of days, I hope you will make an effort to visit a few interesting places around such as the Borneo Cultures Museum and try our cuisine as Kuching is a city of gastronomy.
“While there are different kinds of cuisine, Sarawak, with its 31 ethnic groups, is a melting pot of cultures and cuisine,” added the Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts Minister.
He also gave a pat on the back of SLTA for making the tournament a success amid the recent bad weather.