THE 32 canoeists and dragonboat rowers shortlisted to represent Penang in the Malaysia Games (Sukma) next year are determined to do well and make the state proud.
Penang Canoe Association president Muhamad Mohd Hanif said they were holding regular training sessions in an indoor rowing pool four times a month, with each session lasting up to three hours.
“They have been training earnestly since June 15 after having to cease training earlier for almost three months due to the movement control order.
“They are trying their best to make up for lost time, ” he said at the fitness centre recently.
He said the training squad comprised 32 athletes aged between 16 and 22 years.
“We have a total of 42 rowers, including the 32 in the training squad. The other rowers are part of our development programme.
“Sometimes, the team members train at the Penang Water Sports Centre in Tanjung Bungah.
“We have also plans to do some training at Bukit Merah Lake, ” he said, adding that their head coach Franky Unyat was currently away in Sarawak.
Earlier, state youth and sports committee chairman Soon Lip Chee and Penang State Sports Council (PSSC) director Harry Chai visited the fitness centre to check on the athletes’ preparation and to encourage them.
They both gave pep talks to the athletes and spoke with Muhamad, who is former sports director of Universiti Sains Malaysia.
Coach Salleh Hashim, 40, later put the athletes through a simulation exercise.
Soon said the indoor rowing pool offered the athletes a conducive environment for their training.
“They need not worry about bad weather or the tides, ” he said.
Chai said PSSC would go all out to help the team prepare for Sukma that will be hosted by Johor.
“This includes providing them with a proper training centre and linking them up with gymnasiums.
“We will also try to help them with whatever equipment that they need, ” he said.