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Friday December 17, 2010

Ice rink needed to promote winter sports

THE Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) secretary Datuk Sieh Kok Chi has urged the government to build a ice rink to promote winter sports in Malaysia.

Sieh made the call during a press conference to announce the Malaysian ice hockey team for the Asian Winter Games (AWG).

“I think it is time for the government to build a ice rink to support ice hockey and ice skating. Both are active and will be representing Malaysia in the Asian Winter Games in Kazakhstan in January. Now, they have to rely on the ice rink at Sunway Pyramid.

“If the Government can build swimming pools, F1 circuit and velodromes, there is no reason why an Olympic-sized ice rink cannot be built in Malaysia. Furthermore, building swimming pools and velodromes are costlier than an ice rink,’’ said Sieh.

Happy time:The Malaysian ice hockey team in joyous mood at the sponsorship ceremony.

He also praised the Malaysian Ice Hockey Federation (MIHF) for their concerted efforts in the promotion of ice hockey in Malaysia.

“They have a committed team with Datuk Lee Hwa Beng as the president. I am impressed with the players. Each of them have to fork out RM2,000 for the AWG. Some of the foreign-based players have to pay to be with the team in Malaysia before flying to Kazakhstan,’’ said Sieh.

Malaysia made their debut in the AWG in Changchun, China in 2007. Malaysia finished eighth ahead of seasoned teams like Thailand, Macau and Hong Kong.

In the 2011 edition of the AWG, Malaysia will be playing in the Premier Division, which is for non-seasonal countries.

The other countries in contention for medals in the Premier Division are United Arab Emirates, Thailand, Hong Kong, Mongolia, Kuwait, India and Qatar.

Lee, who is also the chef-de-mission of the Malaysian contingent to the AWG, said they had a bright chance of winning a medal.

“Our target is a medal as we are up against teams of equal strength. Our players have been training hard since early this year and they had some impressive results in the tournaments they took part. We are on the way to the AWG with support from sponsors.

“The sponsors have faith in the team and the players have to justify that with a medal in the AWG,’’ said Lee after the sponsorship ceremony.

The sponsors are Mesuma, VeHeng Global Traders, Sunway Pyramid, Tanjong Mahsuri, Empire Subang, Dragon-i, Canton-i, Celebrity Fitness and Air Astana.

The Malaysian ice hockey team comprises Ahmad Bazli Abu Safian, Allan Yeoh Keong Yau, Andy Chang Yew Ming, Aris Samad Yahaya, Brandon Tan Wai Kin, Edmond Ng Eng Kuan, Gabriel Ong Meng Huei, Gary Tan Khia Peng, Haniff Mahmood, Jamil David Ahmad Mokhtar, Jeremy Chee Tack Hoong, Khoo Seng Chee, Loke Ban Kin, Moi Jia Yung, Reezman Isa, Tan Kay Seng, Vincent Matthew Loh, Yap Eu Jin, Tengku Muhd Azlly, Abdul Hakim Ismail.

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