PETALING JAYA: With the Vietnam SEA Games in mind, the Amateur Swimming Union of Malaysia (Asum) has decided to foot its own bill in sending the national waterpolo team to compete in the Indonesia Open Invitational competition in Medan from March 20-23.
It was decided in a joint meeting between the National Sports Council (NSC) and Olympic Council of Malaysia (NSC) last month that 12 sports will not be receiving funding for the Vietnam Games which takes place in December.
Waterpolo were among the sports which NSC have decided not to fund. However Asum is not leaving the sport high and dry and have taken the initiative to draw from their own funds to sent the team for the competition.
Asum secretary Edwin Chong however said that the team will be sent on a minimal budget.
“They will attend centralised training in Penang and then leave for Medan from there by ferry. It does not cost much but the benefit will be invaluable. They will get good exposure from this tournament as all the South-east Asian countries will be there.
“There are not many waterpolo competitions in the region and if we want OCM to consider allowing the team to compete in the SEA Games, we have to present an idea of the standard of our national team. We plan to sent them for two or three meets and from the results they must justify their worth as potential medallists at least for us to recommend to OCM,” said Edwin.
The competition in Medan will be attended by seven countries. Besides Malaysia, the participating countries are SEA Games champions Singapore, Thailand, Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei and hosts Indonesia.
Edwin added that Asum is also planning to organise its own invitational meet sometime later in the year.
Asum's hopes of getting waterpolo being considered by OCM for the Vietnam Games comes after the team's fourth placed finish in the Asia Pacific Invitation meet in Hong Kong last year.
OCM have earlier stated that when it comes to selection of team sports in the SEA Games, they will only consider those who have the potential to win medals.
Meanwhile, synchronized swimming have also been left out from the Vietnam SEA Games.
Edwin said they have been informed by OCM that the Vietnam SEA Games organisers have decided not to include synchronized swimming, despite a last minute appeal.
Aquatics for the Vietnam SEA Games will now comprise of swimming (32 golds) and diving (8 golds).
Malaysia won both the two golds at stake in synchronized swimming in the Kuala Lumpur SEA Games last year.