PETALING JAYA: In what is likely to come as a nasty shock to national athletes, the reopening of the Road to Tokyo programme in Bukit Jalil has been put off by a week.
The elite athletes and their coaches will only check in to National Sports Complex in Bukit Jalil from June 8.
Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican, after seeking the feedback from involved parties, decided to delay the start of the month-long camp by a week “out of concern for their well-being”.
The decision was influenced by the fact that the Casa 1 hostel block at the National Sports Complex in Bukit Jalil is now being used by the National Security Council as a quarantine centre for foreigners. They will be moved to the Malaysian Agro Exposition Park in Serdang by the end of May.
National Sports Council director general Datuk Ahmad Shapawi Ismail said it was best to give more time for the whole Bukit Jalil premises to be thoroughly sanitised.
“We cannot risk any health issues as this exercise needs to work well to lay the path for training programmes all over the country to resume later.
“Only the Bukit Jalil cluster will be affected while the shuttlers at Badminton Academy of Malaysia in Bukit Kiara and the sailors at the National Sailing Centre in Langkawi will report as scheduled on June 1, ” he said.
A total of 207 athletes and coaches as well as support staff will be involved in the early training exercise, which will be run under quarantine-like conditions.
Bukit Jalil will see the biggest group of 146 people from aquatics, gymnastics, archery and karate. There will be 14 able-bodied athletes in Bukit Jalil along with 26 para athletes from aquatics, archery, cycling, athletics, badminton, boccia, powerlifting, table tennis and wheelchair tennis.
Shapawi added that all those involved will have to undergo several health screenings for the first two weeks of centralised training.