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KL Games to feature more Malaysian young athletes

KUALA LUMPUR: More Malaysian youngsters are set to make their debut at the Aug 19-30 Kuala Lumpur SEA Games.

The Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) have decided to be lenient in their selection policy to enable Malaysia to be represented in all the 405 events – involving 38 sports – at the biennial Games.

The OCM selection committee will meet from June 6-7 to finalise the contingent. All South-East Asian countries must register their athletes by name before June 30.

Said OCM secretary Datuk Low Beng Choo: “In the past, only those who beat the qualifying marks were selected (under Category A). But this time we’ll allow the national sports associations (NSAs) to submit youngsters with potential for the Games.

“After all, it’s our home Games and we want to have a representative in every individual and team event. This is the best platform for our development athletes to shine.”

At the last Games in Singapore in 2015, some Malaysians also competed under Category B after failing to meet the OCM’s selection criteria. Then, the athletes paid their own way but were told their expenses would be reimbursed if they secured at least a silver.

“This time there’s no Category B. The Government will bear all the costs. But we do hope that the NSAs will submit only their best back-up athletes and not just anyone.

“We’ll meet this weekend to go through all the NSAs’ final lists. We’re more open but it does not mean that we’ll compromise on the athletes’ standards,” said Beng Choo.