Although sports activities that involve mass gatherings, swimming and body contact are still banned, athletes interviewed said the green light announced by the government would prove vital to their preparations for Sukma.
Archer M. Khambeswaran, 21, said he felt excited to get back on the field after the announcement and could not wait to be back at training as usual.
“It is a huge relief. Finally we can train and prepare for the tournament ,” he said.
Khambeswaran said as a professional archer, it was hard for him to train without arrows and targets.
He said he had to make do with what he had, which was the home training given by his coach since the movement control order (MCO) started in March.
“As an archer, I need to shoot to hone my aim and skills.
“But with the restriction during MCO, I have to train on my own and with limited equipment,” he said.
Silat exponent Mohamad Ridzuan Abdullah, however, will have to wait a little longer as the training for this contact sport is still not allowed.
“It is still a no go for us. We still have to train alone,” he said.
Ridzuan, who has been representing the state since 2017, said despite having to continue to train alone, his fighting spirit has not toned down, nor did his prowess deteriorate.
He said as long as he followed the training programme given by the coach, he could focus and train harder.
The 19-year-old admits that training alone without a coach seemed odd for a while but after almost three months, he got used to it.
He said training alone at home gave him more time to focus on his skills and even expose the martial art to his siblings.
Sukma Games next year will be the second one for him.
“We hope to train as usual soon to prepare for Sukma,” he said.
Judo exponent Tan Kei Yi, 21, vows to keep training hard on her own and staying focused.
“I think we just need to continue to stay motivated and help each other, and not to lose spirit,” she said.
She said her coaches would update the training programme for her and her teammates for the recovery MCO so that they could increase their stamina and skills.
Her coaches had been training her through video conferencing.
She said although it was a bit odd at first to be trained through video calls, she later felt this way of training enhanced her understanding with her partner.
“We often misunderstand each other during training as we don’t know what we should do, especially in kata events because in kata forms, we need to know and be in sync with our partners when we move.
“But I realise after a while that training by video helps me understand my partners better,” she said.
She said during the MCO, she spends at least 3 hours training every day except Sundays.
Tan, who represented Malaysia at SEA Games, said next year will be her final outing for Sukma and she wanted to do better.
“My target for Sukma next year is to get better than what we achieved in the last tournament when we were crowned the overall champion with six golds,” she said, adding that she hoped to represent Malaysia again in the next SEA Games.
State Sports Council director Harry Chai Heng Hua said the sports council was doing the necessary arrangements and preparations to resume the athletes’ training.
“In line with the standard operating procedures announced by the ministry, we developed our Framework for Resumption of High Performance Training Post Covid-19, in which all our Sukma coaches and athletes must adhere to.
“We will prepare our training venues to be Covid-19 ready,” he said.
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