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Friday September 13, 2013 MYT 3:24:00 PM
Friday September 13, 2013 MYT 3:25:30 PM
by ashreena pillai
KUALA LUMPUR: The Islamic Solidarity Games should not be merely used as a means to earn a ticket to this year’s SEA Games.
“I understand that while these Games are being used to qualify for the SEA Games, they should in no way, shape or form be taken lightly,” said chef de mission Datuk Megat Zulkarnain Omar Din on Friday during his visit to the National Sports Complex in Bukit Jalil to oversee the preparations in weightlifting, athletics, karate and taekwando.
Malaysia will be sending a 193-strong contingent for the Islamic Solidarity Games to be held in Palembang, Indonesia, from Sept 22-Oct 1. The contingent will consist of 139 athletes and 54 officials who will compete in 10 of the 13 sports on offer with four of them – karate, taekwando, wushu and swimming – earmarked to be Malaysia’s best bet of landing medals.
While many of the athletes competing in the Games are still seeking to qualify for the SEA Games in Myanmar this December, Megat said it should not take away from the Islamic competition.
“These Games will feature formidable opponents from 56 participating Islamic nations and will provide them with a high-level competition and exposure. The athletes should look at the Games as the perfect ground to test their mettle ahead of the SEA Games and try and win a medal for their country,” he added.
As previously reported, Malaysia has set a meagre three-gold target for these games.
“We’re still keeping the target at three golds. We don’t want to set lofty goals. You have to be realistic and not get over-ambitious in situations like this,” said Megat.
In the inaugural meet in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, in 2005, Malaysia finished seventh out of 32 countries on the medal standings after taking home 16 medals – five gold, five silver and six bronze.
The five gold medals came courtesy of diving, swimming and karate.
“But, I believe our athletes will rise to the occasion and perform better than that. I’m confident our athletes can deliver and possibly even better our previous medal haul,” he said.
This will be only the second time the Islamic Solidarity Games are being held. There was supposed to be a second edition in Teheran, Iran, in 2010, but it was cancelled.
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Islamic Solidarity Games, Megat Zulkarnain Omar Din, SEA Games
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