KUALA LUMPUR: Petty and childish.
That aptly describes Malaysian Athletics Federation (MAF) president Datuk Karim Ibrahim’s decision not to send any athletes to the two-day Taiwan Open on May 15-16.
He has decided not to send the athletes to Taiwan because “the Taiwanese athletes have never competed in the Malaysian Open for the last decade”.
The Taiwan Open was supposed to be the last competition for national track and field athletes to gain exposure before taking part in the Singapore SEA Games from June 5-16. The athletics competition in the biennial Games will be held at the National Stadium from May 7-12.
Karim has informed the coaches to send the athletes to other overseas meets.
The only other overseas competition the Malaysian athletes can compete in before the SEA Games is the Asian Track and Field (ATF) in Wuhan City, China, from June 3-7 – but that is too close to the SEA Games competition dates.
Fret not, Karim has that covered too.
“If the athletes cannot get a chance to compete in overseas meets, then they should participate in the Perak Open on May 23 and 24 in preparation for SEA Games,” said Karim.
MAF technical director Robert Ballard is clearly disappointed with the decision to skip the Taiwan Open.
“Our athletes need to feature in the Taiwan Open ... it would be good to gauge their strength against foreign athletes before they compete in the SEA Games,” said the Australian coach.
“The athletes won’t be able to compete in the Perak Open (on May 23-24) as they will be at the national camp in Bukit Jalil for the last phase of centralised SEA Games training during that period.
“The only overseas competition the athletes can feature in is the ATF meet.”
Competing in the ATF meet mean athletes will have to first travel to Wuhan City in China and then rush back to Singapore for the Games.
Another question that begs an answer is whether the athletes can peak in back-to-back competitions.
Yes they can, says Karim.
“They can feature in the heats in the ATF meet ... and most of them will not qualify for the finals. So, they can return in time for the SEA Games, which only have semi-finals and finals,” said Karim.
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