Youth and Sports Ministry set to meet Terengganu exco over gymnastics issue

PETALING JAYA: A compromise and the best outcome will be reached for the female gymnasts from Terengganu, says the Youth and Sports Ministry.

The ministry confirmed that it is set to meet Terengganu’s Youth, Sports and NGO Development Committee chairman Hishamuddin Abdul Karim over the decision to bar female gymnasts from competing in the Malaysia Games (Sukma) due to their attire.

Youth and Sports Minister Hannah Yeoh said a meeting would be held soon, further detailing that the Terengganu gymnasts were wearing fully covered unitards.

She held a meeting with Terengganu Gymnastics Association (TGA) president Abdul Razak Mat Amin on the matter recently.

"Currently, Terengganu female gymnasts wear full-body 'unitards'. The rules of the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) allow the use of clothing that covers all parts of the body except for the palms and soles of the feet," she said.

"This 'unitard' outfit has been worn by many gymnasts including the German women's gymnastics team at the Tokyo Olympics.

"Even former national gymnast Izzah Amzan has worn the 'unitard' while taking part in the Vietnam SEA Games and the Birmingham Commonwealth Games and has won medals for the country.

"The meeting also discussed the steps that the ministry can take to resolve the issue. Among them, the ministry will hold further discussions with the Terengganu sports exco to reach an understanding and the best solution to safeguard the welfare of female gymnasts in Terengganu.

"At the same time, the ministry also discussed the efforts to continue to empower gymnastics in Terengganu since this sport is still carried out at the level of the District School Sports Council (MSSD), the Terengganu State School Sports Council (MSST) and the Malaysian School Sports Council (MSSM)."

The state government led by PAS introduced the Entertainment, Cultural Performances, Tourism and Sports Guideline in March 2020 that suggested what Muslim and non-Muslim athletes and performers should and should not wear.

The guideline asked the athletes to dress based on the Shariah guidelines for Muslims, while non-Muslims should not wear outfits that are tight, short or revealing.

Instead of competing in gymnastics in the Sukma next year, the state government had suggested the athletes compete in Wushu instead.

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