KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia used to dominate the middle and long distance events in the SEA Games. But since the 2003 Vietnam Games, none has stepped up to the plate.
The Federal Territory Athletics Association (FTAA) hope to redress the situation and are playing their part in helping to identify talented middle and long distance runners by organising three circuits this year.
The first will be held on Sunday at Taman Botani, Tasik Perdana in Kuala Lumpur.
It has attracted 130 runners, who have been divided into three categories – students aged from 13-15 and 16-18 and juniors aged between 19 and 21.
The boys and girls aged 13-15 will compete in the 800m, 1,500m and 2,000m while those aged 16-18 will feature in the 1,500m, 2,000m and 2,500m.
The juniors – aged 19-21 – will run in the 2000m, 2,500m and 5,000m.
The second and third circuits will be held on May 18 and Sept 7 at the same venue.
FTAA secretary Datuk S. Vegiyathuman said that they are very few men and women middle and long distance runners in the country.
“That’s why we have decided to organise these circuits ... to create awareness towards the promotion and development of running among youths,” said Vegiyathuman.
“We also want to increase the number of participants through the circuits and to raise the standard of middle and long distance runners.
“Besides creating interest among youths, the beginners will be taught the correct training methods through clinics conducted by FTAA coaches.
“I hope schools and parents will encourage their children to come forward to participate as the first three winners in each category will get to train under qualified coaches so that they will get proper training.”