KUCHING: Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah hopes Sarawakian athletes competing in the upcoming Kuala Lumpur SEA Games will do the country and state proud.
He said so far 43 athletes from the state had been selected for various sports at the games, which will be held between Aug 19 and 30.
“This is not the final number as some sports have not announced their athletes yet, so there could be more athletes from Sarawak. Our hope is that they will bring success to Malaysia and make Sarawak proud,” he said.
Abdul Karim said there were good medal prospects in athletics, swimming and wushu while athletes in cycling and shooting were also expected to do well.
In athletics, he said hammer throwers Jackie Wong and Grace Wong, who hold the men’s and women’s national records, were potential gold medallists while sprinter Jonathan Nyepa could also win gold as part of the men’s 4x100m relay.
He also expected swimmers Welson Sim and Erika Kong to be among the medallists.
“Welson beat the Olympic champion (Mack Horton of Australia) at the Mare Nostrum Tour in Monte Carlo this year, so we are hopeful of gold from the sport,” Abdul Karim said, referring to the Sarawakian swimmer’s feat in winning the 400m freestyle event in a new national record.
The other medal prospects he identified included wushu exponents Diana Bong and Loh Jack Chang, experienced shooter Bibiana Ng and BMX cyclist Ariana Nurminda Ariffin.
Sarawak is also contributing athletes in basketball, football, volleyball, gymnastics, golf, hockey, judo, cricket, squash, taekwondo, tennis, diving and women’s rugby.
Among them are two Olympians - Welson, who competed in the Rio Olympics last year, and diver Traisy Vivien Tukiet in the 2012 London Olympics.
The oldest and longest-serving Sarawakian athlete in the contingent is veteran shooter Ng, 40, who will be competing in her ninth SEA Games, while the youngest is 15-year-old diver Kimberly Bong.