KANGAR: A group of 19 schoolchildren reached the mid-point of Mount Kinabalu at noon yesterday in their attempt to be the youngest team to conquer the country’s highest peak.
The children, aged between eight and 12, were set to reach the summit of the 4,101m mountain at 8am today, according to project co-ordinator Dr Suraya Sudin.
She said the group, chaperoned by seven adult climbers, had reached the Panar Laban rest area halfway up Mount Kinabalu.
“The children were excited all the way and we have to keep them calm as we do not want them to lose energy unnecessarily,” she said.
“They will rest at Panar Laban before starting the final trek up the peak, about 3.5km away, at 2am today and expect to reach the summit at 8am.”
The children, from SM Sains Tuanku Syed Putra, SK Kuala Perlis, SK Seri Perlis and SK Sena, arrived in Kota Kinabalu on Saturday evening before making their way to Kinabalu National Park, where the mountain was located.
The group, sponsored by parents and private donors, aimed to set four records: planting the largest Perlis flag at the summit; being the youngest-ever expedition; having the most climbers from Perlis; and having the youngest climber, three-year-old Muhammad Akmar Sudin Mohd Ghazali, the youngest son of Dr Suraya.
Dr Suraya said the group was divided into two teams, with children in the first group and women in the second. The second group also included the sole schoolgirl climber, eight-year-old Liyana Marissa Mohd Ghazali.
“The children are all highly motivated and in good health except for Liyana, who is nursing a cold,” Dr Suraya said.
Meanwhile, SK Sena students were overjoyed to see their peers' photographs in the newspapers.
SK Sena headmaster Shamsudin Md Nor said the selected students were the school’s “brightest sparks”, who excelled in both academic and extra-curricular aspects.
“We had organised extra-curricular activities to complement the students’ studies to help them attain a balanced lifestyle of physical activities and academic proficiency,” he said.
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