KUALA LUMPUR: Eleven sports have been included in the Core Sports (Sukan Teras) programme, making it a total of 19.
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, who is also the chairman of the Cabinet Committee for Sports, announced this after the Parliament session yesterday.
The inclusions are archery, cycling, lawn bowls, karate, silat, shooting, sailing, sepak takraw, taekwondo, weightlifting and wushu.
The original eight in the programme launched in 2004 after the Athens Olympics are aquatics, athletics, badminton, hockey, football, gymnastics, squash and bowling.
The National Sports Council (NSC) director general, Datuk Zolkples Embong, said that the sports gained inclusion in the programme based on their ability to deliver medals at international level while aiming to reach uniformity with what was currently practised for the biennial Sukma (Malaysia Games).
“These are the 19 compulsory sports for Sukma. While certain sports have performed well and are in the right direction, there are some we feel have the potential in certain disciplines and merit attention,” he said.
The Malaysia Karate Federation (Makaf) secretary, Clement Soo, was delighted that the martial arts sport had gained recognition.
“Karate had humble beginnings but we have managed to deliver medals consistently in international-level championships in recent years,” he said.
“Most of the people involved in karate will be happy to hear this and we hope there will be more opportunities to have intensive development of the sport. This is the best way to ensure continued good results,” he said.
The Malaysian National Cycling Federation (MNCF) deputy president, Datuk Naim Mohamad, welcomed the news and hoped their inclusion in the programme would boost efforts to develop more talent at grassroots level.
“We still do not have enough depth in the national team compared to other countries but our current batch of cyclists have certainly showed their ability to do well in Asia and to become world beaters. It is from here that we need to carry on the momentum towards the future,” he said.
Najib also announced yesterday that the government would reward an individual gold medallist at the Olympics with RM1mil and the silver and bronze would be worth RM300,000 and RM100,000 respectively.
For a team sport, each member of a gold medal-winning side will get RM150,000.
The monthly pension scheme for Olympic medallists has also been revised to RM5,000 (gold), RM3,000 (silver) and RM2,000 (bronze) from RM3,000, RM2,000 and RM1,000.
Zolkples said that the announcement was a timely boost for the athletes ahead of the Beijing Olympics in August.
“The government has recognised the hard work put in by the athletes. The ball is now on their court and it's up to them to fight to earn the rewards,” he said.