KUALA LUMPUR, March 2 — All National Sports Associations (NSAs) are in a good mood and more spirited in preparing their athletes for the Hanoi SEA Games to be held from May 12-23.
Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) president Tan Sri Mohamad Norza Zakaria said the positive outlook was due to the government recently approving an allocation of RM240 million for the implementation of the Podium Programme from 2022 to 2025.
He said the allocation showed that there was a continuation of all the programmes planned by the National Sports Council (NSC), thus, boosting the spirit of all the associations to ensure their athletes achieve success at the biennial Games.
“The sports associations received news of this (allocation) well and they are determined to continue fighting for Malaysia, so I think the mood is good,” he said when asked about the preparedness of the national sports associations to compete in the Hanoi SEA Games during a media conference after the selection committee meeting at Wisma OCM here today.
He also felt that the SEA Games in Vietnam was the right platform to rejuvenate the national sports arena before the associations and athletes face more daunting tasks, namely the Commonwealth Games 2022 in Birmingham in July and Asian Games 2022 in Hangzhou, China in September.
At the same time, he also announced that the selection committee had recommended that the national contingent to the SEA Games be set at 770 people — 574 athletes and 196 officials.
Of the total, 317 athletes will compete under Category A and 257 under Category B, but Mohamad Norza expects the total to rise when three other sports, namely swimming, athletics and e-Sports, submit their lists of names before the deadline on March 12.
“For athletics, the final list of athletes will be submitted after the Malaysian Open Championships on March 5-6; swimming after the Malaysian Open meet on March 3-6 and e-Sports after the association’s final selection on March 7,” he said.
Meanwhile, he confirmed that for petanque, the players and officials will compete in the Games under the OCM banner following the association’s suspension by the world body.
He added that the same applied to the sepak takraw team after the Malaysian Sepaktakraw Association (PSM) were expelled by the Asian Sepak Takraw Federation (ASTAF).
Mohamad Norza also said that the national contingent to the Hanoi SEA Games would compete in 40 sports and 349 events out of the total of 43 sports and 461 events contested.
Malaysia will not compete in handball, vovinam and wrestling.
For the record, the Malaysian contingent was represented by 773 athletes at the 2019 SEA Games in the Philippines, taking part in 52 out of the 56 sports contested. — Bernama