Sport

Published: Thursday December 12, 2013 MYT 5:39:00 PM
Updated: Thursday December 12, 2013 MYT 5:42:04 PM

MAF has funds to send council members, not athletes?

The SEA Games contingent at the opening ceremony in Naypyitaw. The Malaysian Athletics Federation say they lack the funds to send Category B athletes to the Games, and yet they are sending eight council members as observers.

The SEA Games contingent at the opening ceremony in Naypyitaw. The Malaysian Athletics Federation say they lack the funds to send Category B athletes to the Games, and yet they are sending eight council members as observers.

NAYPYITAW: The Malaysian Athletics Federation (MAF) claim they have no money to send athletes to the Myanmar SEA Games under Category B.

But how is it they could send eight council members to Naypyitaw as observers for the track and field events?

Category B athletes are those who failed to qualify on merit and the sports associations bear the cost of sending them to the Games.

The associations will be reimbursed if the athletes win medals in the biennial Games.

MAF president Datuk Zainal Abidin Ahmad, who is due in Naypyitaw on Saturday, defended the move, saying “the council members are going to Myanmar not for leisure”.

“We are sending them there for them to learn about the track and field events and also about the Games. It will be a good experience for the officials, especially for those who became council members for the first time,” said Zainal in a telephone interview on Thursday.

“I forked out some of my own money to sponsor the trip for the council members. And we did not ask OCM (Olympic Council of Malaysia) to pay for them.

“And not all the council members are going to Myanmar. Some of them are going as athletics and technical officials.”

The council members going to Naypyitaw as officials are MAF deputy president Datuk Wan Hisham Wan Salleh (as team manager), Pahang AA deputy president R. Annamalai (as member of the Asian Athletics Association) and Negri Sembilan AA secretary S. Chinatamby (as technical official).

Zainal pointed out that this is not the first time they have sent council members to the SEA Games.

“As the president of the Negri Sembilan AA, I also sent all my 15 council members to the SEA Games in Korat (2007), Laos (2009) and Palembang (2011) ... as a learning process,” said Zainal.

A total of 39 athletes – 26 men and 13 women – will feature in athletics, which begins on Sunday at the Wunna Theikdi main stadium.

Although a total of 45 gold medals are at stake in Myanmar, MAF have set a target of only five golds in the five-day competition as the standard of athletics in Malaysia has gone down over the past few years.

Tags / Keywords: athletics, SEA Games, Myanmar, Naypyitaw, Nyapidaw, MAF, Malaysian Athletics Federation, Category B

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