Friday, March 4, 2011

Malaysia Will Send Elite And Junior Athletes To Sea Games

KUALA LUMPUR, March 3 (Bernama) - Malaysia will send a contingent of elite and junior athletes to Jakarta SEA Games despite the inclusion of many new events that may turn it into a circus or telematch.

National Sports Council (NSC) athlete division director Ahmad Shapawi Ismail however said elite athletes included in the`Road to London (RTL) 2012' programme would not participate as they have to focus on qualifying for the Olympics.

"Athletes who regularly win gold medals at SEA Games will not be sent as we want them to focus on games of higher status," he said when asked whether Malaysia will only send junior athletes after Indonesia dropped several sports introduced many new ones including extreme sports.

Shapawi who manages the elite, junior and paralympic athlete programmes said Malaysia has many elite athletes to choose from.

"Those under RTL are super elite athletes and below them are elite athletes who have won medals at games with higher status like the Commonwealth Games."

A good example is 400m hurdler Noraseela Khalid, an elite athlete not under RTL and thus qualifies for SEA Games.

"Doubts should not be cast on junior athletes as majority of them have qualified and nearly reached elite status."

Shapawi added NSC might send more junior athletes as action by Indonesia had lowered the status of SEA Games.

The SEA Games Federation (SGF) meeting in Bali last week saw Indonesia finalising 44 sports and 545 events for the 26th SEA Games from Nov 11-25.

Routine sports dropped are hockey, billiards and snooker and women football.

The games will only see one track cycling event and many road races, events which Indonesia is strong.


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