MAF finally decide to come down hard on ‘illegal’ road races

Good response: FTAA president Leo Leslie Armstrong (front row, third from left) and (back row from left) OCM assistant secretary Datuk Sieh Kok Chi, MAF president Datuk Karim Ibrahim and FTAA secretary Datuk S. Vegiyathuman posing for a photograph with sponsors after the FT City Day Run press conference at Wisma OCM in Kuala Lumpur yesterday. The run will be held at Padang Merbok on Feb 26. — FAIHAN GHANI / The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Athletics Federation (MAF) have had it with “illegal” marathons and road races.

And they have announced that national athletes who take part in such “illegal” runs risk facing suspension.

MAF president Karim Ibrahim said yesterday that some event organisers did not follow regulations and instead sought approval from other parties – like Tourism Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL), police and venue owners – to hold their events.

“The MAF council has decided that it’s time to come down hard on organisers who run events without our sanctions. There are guidelines and regulations to be followed,” said Karim.

“We will stop all illegal runs in the future. If they proceed, we’re prepared to seek legal action.

“We want a win-win situation for everyone. All they need to do is simply comply with the MAF and international rules. Some organisers do not even follow the standard distance measurement stipulated by the national body for their runs.

“And when things go wrong, they blame us. We do not want to be bullied anymore.”

Karim was responding to a 35-page proposal submitted by Federal Territory Athletics Associa­tion (FTAA) secretary Datuk S. Vegiyathuman on the need to control road races in the country.

Vegiyathuman said that they would like to hold a dialogue session with all the stakeholders as he fears that there will be a lower standard and quality if event managers are given the freedom to do as they like.

“At the state level, we are very much involved in the development. It’s difficult for us when we can’t even find slots to run events here in Kuala Lumpur,” he said.

“Event managers have booked their runs for almost every Sunday at Padang Merbok this year. We can’t get participants too because it’s lucrative outside.

“We hope that venue owners will direct future organisers to us first. We can check out the dates and work together with them.

“We can make sure that all the technical aspects of the race are looked into.”

Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) assistant secretary Datuk Sieh Kok Chi explained that while the rules were clear, “the implementation had been poor”.

“Article 36 under our Sports Act clearly specifies two types of runs – the recreation and the competitive one. For the official run, organisers must get the sanction from the national body,” said Kok Chi.

“The Sports Commissioner has the right to enforce this rule.”

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Sport , Athletics , Marathon , Datuk Karim Ibrahim


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