KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 2 (Bernama) -- Elite athletes under the Cabaran 2010 and 2012 London Olympics programmes who are preparing for the Laos SEA Games, must perform up to expectations or face the prospect of being dropped from such programmes said the National Sports Council.
NSC's Head of Preparations for Elite athletes, Ariffin Mohd Ghani said since the SEA Games was not a high level competition, those under the Cabaran 2010 and Road To London 2012 programmes, must excel in their respective sports.
"We do not want to see a world ranked athlete losing to an unknown or a much lower ranked athlete," said Ariffin after joining Laos SEA Games Chef-de-Mission Datuk Dr Ramlan Abdul Aziz in a briefing session for team managers here Wednesday.
Athletes under Cabaran 2010 are athletes identified as medal prospects for two major Games next year, namely the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, India and the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou, China.
Those under the Road To London programme are those identified as prospect to help Malaysia win a first ever gold medal at the London Olympics.
Ariffin said though the Ministry of Youth and Sports had set the gold medal target for Laos SEA Games from Dec 9-18, as between 35 to 40, the realistic target would be for Malaysian athletes to win gold medals in all 21 of the 25 sports participated.
"For athletes who come under the Road to London 2012 programme that involves badminton, archery, cycling and diving, they will have no excuse to lose to lower ranked opponents," he said.
He added that the SEA Games would be the yardstick to measure the performances of athletes involved in both programmes before being roped in for the third phase next year.
Meanwhile, Dr Ramlan said the 35 to 40 target set by the Ministry and the 40 gold medal target set by the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM), can be achieved by the Malaysian contingent.
"Although the targets are not far off, the most important thing for me is to measure the performances of athletes, based on their personal ability according to the season. Sometimes it is not the medal but the overall performance of the individual athlete," he said.
Dr Ramlan added that a more definite target for Laos would be available after a meeting with managers and coaches by end of the month.