PETALING JAYA: The Youth and Sports Ministry will try to aid the development of gymnastics in Terengganu despite the state government’s decision to bar the sport’s female athletes from competing in the Sarawak Malaysia Games (Sukma).
They are hopeful that female gymnasts will be allowed to compete in Sarawak next year as the ministry are set to meet the state’s Youth, Sports and Non-Governmental Organisation Development executive councillor Hishamuddin Abdul Karim to discuss the matter.
Youth and Sports Minister Hannah Yeoh held a meeting with Terengganu Gymnastics Association (TGA) president Abdul Razak Mat Amin as well as association committee members and parents of gymnasts.
They discussed the issue of Terengganu female gymnasts who are prohibited from participating in the Sukma next year, due to the sport’s clothing guidelines which are in conflict with other sports like athletics and cycling.
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.
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 Azman has also worn the unitard in the Vietnam SEA Games and the Birmingham Commonwealth Games and has won medals for the country,” said Hannah.
“The meeting also discussed the steps that the ministry can take to resolve the issue. Among them, we will hold further discussions with the Terengganu State Sports Exco to reach an understanding and find the best solution to protect the welfare of female gymnasts in Terengganu.”
At the same time, the Sports Ministry will also discussed efforts to continue empowering 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).
“As a result of this meeting and seeing the positive development of gymnastics in Terengganu, the ministry agreed to channel RM100,000 to the association through the National Sports Council, to improve existing equipment to develop and expand gymnastics in Terengganu.
“I would also like to announce that the National Sports Council will place a woman gymnastics coach at the Bukit Payung Terengganu Gymnastics Hall to enable more female gymnasts to be identified and given more systematic daily training.
“This is to ensure that future female gymnasts who are interested in gymnastics are allowed to get proper training and exposure without any restrictions.”