Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin (centre) looking on as Malaysian paralympian Faizatul Abdullah Sani uses a weight machine at the launch of the Malaysia Paralympic Sports Excellence Centre (MPSEC) in Kampung Pandan on Thursday. Also present were Paralympic Council of Malaysia patron Tun Jeanne Abdullah (second from right) and her husband, former Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi (right). - BERNAMA
PETALING JAYA: Malaysia aim to be a powerhouse in paralympics.
And the building of a RM49mil Malaysia Paralympic Sports Excellence Centre (MPSEC) in Kampung Pandan – the biggest in South-East Asia – is a step in the right direction.
Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said the building would raise the profile of the sport as well inspire the para-athletes in the country.
“The centre will serve as a platform and access for these disabled athletes to take part in sports and recreational activities. They can no longer give excuses like the lack of facilities for not being able to excel,” said Khairy at the opening ceremony of the centre on Thursday.
The centre was officially opened by Tun Jeanne Abdullah, the patron of the Paralympic Council of Malaysia (PCM).
The long-awaited state-of-the-art training complex is fully equipped with top class facilities like an international-sized swimming pool (eight-lane), gymnasium, archery range, basketball and badminton courts as well as a multi-purpose hall.
Khairy said the training complex also has lecture halls, a cafetaria, parking facilities as well as a hostel which can accommodate 300 para-athletes.
“The aim of the Youth and Sports Ministry is to provide the para-athletes with the same kind of high-level training facilities that are available for the able-bodied. This is to show that everyone should have the same mission and vision – to strive for excellence,” he said.
“We will also lend our support by putting in place strategic plans to ‘inspire’ the disabled to take up sports. We call it the ‘I-Programme’ and we will go nation-wide in our bid to find the talents at the grassroots level.”
He said that under the I-Programme, those with disabilities would be encouraged to participate in camps organised at 119 districts throughout the country.
“A total of 30 disabled athletes will then be picked from each district to attend a two-day camp called ‘I-Talent’.
“The objective is to identify 1,400 para-athletes to attend a week-long ‘I-Train’ camp, which will be held in every state,” he said.
Under the “I-Train” programme, they will be coached in sports like football (7-a-side), athletics, archery, wheelchair basketball, weightlifting, goal ball, table tennis, badminton, cycling, swimming and lawn bowls.
Khairy said the para-athletes are targeted to do well in the Asian Para Games and the Para Commonwealth Games this year.