PETALING JAYA: Hosts Perlis are counting on a 14-gold medal haul at the 17th Malaysia Games (Sukma) next month.
Among their best bets is national cyclist Jupha Somnet, who is targeted to deliver two golds at the Games, held from May 24-June 4.
The 21-year-old Jupha, who is from the Thai community in Perlis, is currently based in Melbourne with the national cycling team preparing for the Glasgow Commonwealth Games later this year.
Perlis Mentri Besar Azlan Man confirmed that Jupha will be competing in Sukma and is one of their strongest gold medal prospects.
“We have projected a total of 14 gold, 15 silver and 10 bronze medals,” said Azlan, after leading the state Sukma delegation on a visit to Menara Star here on Wednesday.
He said Perlis is ready to host the Games for the first time since the inaugural Sukma hosted by Kuala Lumpur in 1986. Besides cycling, the tiny state of Perlis expects medals from tennis, weightlifting and petanque.
On their final preparations, Azlan said they are well on course to host the Games.
“Our preparations are 95% completed. The Aquatic Centre should be ready by the first week of May. The materials imported from Italy have arrived in Port Klang and it is just a matter of installing them. The construction of the new badminton hall is nearing completion and should be ready by the end of this month. The other venue is the yachting club house, which should be ready in early May,” said Azlan.
Perlis will play host to a total of 6,500 participants, including 4,747 athletes.
Azlan said the new sports facilities for Sukma would not turn into a white elephant as they would set up a management committee to ensure the venues are used and maintained.
“We hope that Sukma will spur our athletes to excel at a higher level,” said Azlan.