PUTRAJAYA: A total of RM16mil will be allocated to the Road to London programme for athletes identified as potential medal winners at the 2012 Olympics.
A total of 19 athletes from four sports — archery, badminton, track cycling and diving — will come under the programme.
Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who chaired the Cabinet Committee on Sports meeting yesterday, said that these athletes would be given undivided support in terms of international exposure and sports science expertise.
“The RM16mil will cover the preparations for now until the 2012 Olympics,” he said.
“We also plan to start a programme to get the public to lend strong moral support to the athletes who will compete in the Olympics. Hopefully, we will be able to win our first Olympic gold medal in London.”
Divers Pandelela Rinong and Leong Mun Yee, who were the bronze medallists in the world championships in Rome in July, are the recent additions to the programme.
The others are 2008 Beijing Olympic silver medallist Lee Chong Wei, Wong Mew Choo, Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heon, Mohd Fairuzizuan Mohd Zakry-Mohd Zakry Abdul Latif, Chin Eei Hui-Wong Pei Tty (badminton); Cheng Chu Sian, Wan Khalmizam Wan Abdul Aziz, Nazrin Aizat, Mohd Marbawi Sulaiman (archery); Azizul Hasni Awang, Rizal Tisin, Josiah Ng, Mohd Edrus Yunus and Junaidi Nasir (track cycling).
Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek said that the list of athletes would be reviewed from time to time.
“We may include athletes from other sports if they prove that they can win medals at the world level, just like the divers. We will also review the position of those in the programme if they get injured or are unable to sustain their form over a certain period,” he said.
The Cabinet Committee on Sports also approved the setting up of the Asian University Sports Council secretariat in Kuala Lumpur and made amendments to the National Sports Policy on public integration and sports as an industry.
Shabery later handed out a total of RM258,000 as rewards to the Malaysian gold medallists at the Asean Para Games in Kuala Lumpur last month.
Malaysia finished second in the medal standings behind Thailand with a haul of 82-74-46.