SportExcel spring a surprise


BY RAJES PAUL

KUALA LUMPUR: Cricketer Mohd Shukri Abdul Rahim and the national junior tennis players received a big boost yesterday in their pursuit for excellence in sports. 

They were named as recipients of the SportExcel's inaugural special grant scheme. 

The 17-year-old Shukri will receive RM5,000 grant for a training stint to either India or Sri Lanka. 

SportExcel also granted RM15,000 to the Lawn Tennis Association of Malaysia (LTAM) to engage an elite coach for their top four juniors – Jonathan Lee, Razlan Rawi, Norzafirah Ahmad Taufek and Jawariah Nordin. 

The special grants are in addition to a scheme, which SportExcel launched in 1992 to provide financial assistance to junior athletes for their training and travelling expenses. 

YOUNG STARS: Recipients of the SportExcel grants pose with SportExcel chairman Tunku Imran Tuanku Jaafar. The recipients are (from left) Zaid Izlan, Johan Jamaluddin, Esther Cheah, Christy Chew, Adrian Ang, Eric Ang, Daniel Bego, Amira Nuria, Ivan Yuen, Low Wee Wern and Alvin Yeow. - STARpic by S.S. Kanesan

The SportExcel chairman, Tunku Tan Sri Imran Tuanku Jaafar, announced the new scheme during their annual presentation of grant to 14 athletes yesterday. 

“We will enrol Shukri in one of the Academies in India or Sri Lanka. He will probably be there for three to six weeks,” said Imran. 

“It will be a greater experience for Shukri to brush shoulders with the players of a renowned cricket-playing country.” 

On hiring of an elite coach for the tennis players, he said: “Malaysian tennis needs our support to bring it on par with the others in the region. 

“We will work with the association to hire an elite coach to groom the four juniors and the other youngsters under their care.” 

Golfer Ben Leong, who has been receiving grants from SportExcel since 1999, was given the biggest grant of RM15,000 in the total of RM71,000 forked out yesterday. The 17-year-old Ben is training in Florida. 

Five bowlers came under the scheme for the first time. They were Zaid Izlan Ibrahim Hakimi, Johan Jamaluddin, Esther Cheah, Christy Chew Li Ling and Eric Ang. Each of them will get RM2,000 each. Penang's Adrian Ang received his share for the second consecutive year. 

Swimmers Amira Nuria Anuar and Ong Ming Xiu were also first-time recipients. They received RM5,000 each. 

Those who also had their grants extended for another year were Alvin Yeow Jian Shing (optimist sailing), Low Wee Wern and Ivan Yuen (squash) and Daniel Bego (swimming).  

THE 2003 RECIPIENTS 

Golf: Ben Leong (RM15,000). 

Optimists sailing: Alvin Yeow Jian Shing (RM5,000). 

Squash: Low Wee Wern (RM5,000), IvanYuen Chee Wern (RM5,000). 

Bowling: Adrian Ang (RM2,000), ChristyChew Li Ling (RM2,000), Eric Ang(RM2,000), Esther Cheah (RM2,000), JohanJamaludin (RM2,000), Zaid Izlan IbrahimHakimi (RM2,000). 

Swimming: Daniel William Hendry Bego(RM3,000), Amira Nuria Anuar (RM3,000), Ong Ming Xiu (RM3,000). 

Cricket: Mohd Shukri Abdul Rahim (RM5,000). 

Tennis: Norzafirah Ahmad Taufek, Jawariah Nordin, Jonathan Lee, Razlan Rawi (RM15,000). 

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