THE 526 Penang athletes currently undergoing Phase III training for the Malaysia Games (Sukma) 2006 have been told that their places in the squad are not safe yet.
The Penang Sports Council (MSN Penang) director Lee Hang Son said that the size of the squad could still be reduced, depending on the athletes’ performances in the final Phase IV of the preparations.
“All the 26 state sports associations involved are working very hard to get the athletes ready for action at the Games.
“But this is not the final number of Penang athletes for the games. There is no room for slacking as we can still make changes to the squad until the completion of Phase IV,” said Hang Son.
He was speaking at the launch of the Penang-level Sukma 2006 countdown held at the Tanjung Bungah Beach Hotel recently.
The 11th Sukma Games, which will be hosted by Kedah, has been scheduled for May 24-June 4.
The 26 sports to be contested by Penang are weightlifting, badminton, aquatics, athletics, basketball, netball, football, lawn bowls, gymnastics, golf, hockey, karate, fencing, cycling, shooting, archery, sailing, pencak silat, table tennis, rugby, sepak takraw, taekwondo, bowling, squash, boxing and wushu.
Of the 526 athletes, 77 have been classified as elite athletes. They are the bright prospects who are expected to deliver the medals for Penang at the Games.
Hang Son also urged the team sports to buck up and deliver the goods in Kedah.
“Since the inception of the biennial Sukma Games in 1986, Penang have not won the gold medal in the men’s and women’s hockey, women’s basketball, football and rugby events.
“Our men’s basketball team last won the gold when we hosted the games in 2000, while the netball team tasted success two years before that.
“I hope that our teams will be able to provide a stronger challenge and nail the gold medals in Kedah. Penang must look at the recent success of the state women’s hockey team in the Malaysian Women’s Games as inspiration,” added Hang Son.
In the previous games in Negri Sembilan two years ago, Penang finished fourth in the overall standings behind Selangor, Sarawak and Perak with a 36-35-61 medal haul.
This year, MSN Penang has set a target of 50 gold, 50 silver and 50 bronze medals for the state contingent.
THE PENANG ELITE ATHLETES FOR SUKMA 2006:
Eric Tan (weightlifting), Mohd Nurshahrin Jamaluddin, Nur Hafid-zah Latib, Nur Hidayat Aziz (lawn bowls), Lim Yi Fan (artistic gymnastics), Kok Xinyi (rhythmic gymnastics), Wong Jie Hau (golf), Koay Eng Lim, Lee Yuen Hoong, Un Yueh Ling, Yeap Beng Hee, Tan Shi Ying (karate), Natasha Shamila Capol, Siaw Hsien Li (fencing), Seow Hock Cheng, Mohd Khairul Anuar, Muhd Afiq Zulfadhli, Nurain Abdul Malik (cycling).
Cheng Ji Sian, Fatin Sherina Rahim, Muhd Izzuddin Rahim, Tan Jia Min (archery), Ahmad Fahmie Abdullah, Ahmad Firanie Abdullah, Alif Zulsyafiq Zulkiflee, Mohd Syamim Shaharuddin, Shahera Rahim Raja (shooting), Norjannah Hafiszah Jamaluddin, C.Kalaiarasi, Nur Siha Azreen, Mohd Fazrul Zainal, Liang York Fuan, Melinder Kaur (athletics).
Muhammad Khaliq, Vivian Ang (sailing), Hilmi Jafni Zakaria, Nur Fitriyah Baid (pencak silat), Goon Wei Cheng, Lay Chun Liang, Lee Kim Soon, Lim Mei Leng (table tennis), Gloria Fong, Lee Way Joe, Lim Jun Ting, Ooi Tze Yang, Sim Suai Yean, Wang Yuan Kai (swimming), Elvinn Keo, Low Wee Wern, Low Wee Nee, Nabila Ariffin, Nessrine Ariffin, Randy Lim, Jesmond Low (squash).
Deeban Baskaran, Nazeerah Abdul Aziz, Nurain Abdul Wahab (taekwondo), Eric Ang, Fatin Syazliana, Mohd Faiz Shahruddin, Saw Bee Gek, Voon Kim Ling, Adrian Charles Dragon (bowling), Ang Lian Shern, Seow Hock Mao, Ooi Tze Liang, Jessly Yeoh (diving), Mohd Rafi Hariz, B.Parabagalan, Noorazrizal Ahmad Zaidi (boxing), Ester Sim, Lim Ai Huat, Mah Kah Yi, Teo Tze Chee, Kevin Cheah, Khor Hun Chong, Leong Teng How (wushu).