Sabah to host SEA Youth Athletics Championship

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Ellron (sixth right, back) and Shahidan (sixth left, back) with senior sports officials and coaches after the soft launching of the 16th SEA Youth Athletics Championship.

KOTA KINABALU (May 16): Sabah will host the 16th Southeast Asian (SEA) Youth Athletics Championship in Likas on November 21-25.

Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Ellron Angin made the announcement here on Thursday as he thanked Malaysia Athletics Federation (MAF) president Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim for the faith given to Sabah to be the host of the under-18 competition.

“It is certainly an honour for the state to organise such a prestigous meet,” said Ellron in his speech at the soft launching of the championship that he officiated here today.

MAF vice president-cum-coaching and selection committee chairman Datuk Wira Mark Ling, Sabah Sports Council director Mohd Asneh Mohd Noor, Sabah Sports Board general manager Terrance Pudin and Sabah Athletics Association (SAA) president Mohamat Hassan were also present.

Ellron revealed later on in a press conference that around 500 to 600 athletes from 11 Southeast AsIan countries are expected to compete in the championship.

He said the number could be higher with technical officials and team officials including coaches to be involved in the five-day event.

“Malaysia alone is likely to send around 100 athletes to the championship as stated by Datuk Seri (Shahidan),” Ellron said.

On Sabah’s preparation for the championship which is just around six months away, the minister expressed confidence all will be in place for the meet to run smoothly.

He said RM12.24 million had been approved by the state government to upgrade the facilities including the running track at Likas Stadium.

“I’ve presented a working paper during the State Cabinet meeting yesterday (Wednesday) and I want to thank the state government for approving the funding for the championship.

“I certainly believed that we are able to complete all the upgrading works at the Likas Stadium and also to meet all the standards required by World Athletics.

“We will ensure that the championship will be a success, thus make the state and country proud,” he said.

Meanwhile, Shahidan has proposed that Sabah will be the final venue for the MAF Super Series in 2025.

He said the idea had received support from the MAF committee and all that is left is to make an official proposal for it to be endorsed.

Ellron, on the other hand, stated the state would welcome the offer with open arms, saying it would among others help contribute to the development of Sabah athletics.

The MAF Super Series 2024 comprises six races – five super series meets and the grand final – and will offer prize money to the winners.