KUALA LUMPUR: Shape up or ship out.
Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin announced yesterday that weightlifting, sepaktakraw and taekwondo have been dropped from the list of 19 core sports for next year’s Malaysia Games (Sukma) in Perak.
It is the first time such a decision is taken which leaves only 16 core sports for Sukma. A total of 29 sports will be contested in the silver state from Sept 12-22.
Khairy said it might not be a popular decision but something has to be done to stop the slide.
“Weightlifting already has seven doping cases reported to the World Anti Doping Agency in the last four years and the sport has not contributed even at SEA Games level,” said Khairy after chairing the National Sports Council (NSC) management board meeting yesterday.
“Sepaktakraw also suffered a slide in performance by the national team over the last few years and other countries have threatened our position at the world stage.
“Taekwondo’s standards have also dropped even at regional level and we still face problems getting the different factions to come together.
“This decision is not to punish them by cutting their funding but the message is that you need to buck up.
“This will be the future model for sports fundings. If your sports perform well, you will be rewarded with more fundings. We will do a review every two years,” added Khairy.
He assured that the funding for athletes who are under the Podium Programme are not affected although their sports have been dropped from the list of core sports.
“There are athletes who have the potential to deliver at elite level and that is why we place them under the programme,” he explained.
Weightlifter Azroy Hazal Wafie, who competes in the below 56kg category, and the men’s sepaktakraw team are under the programme.
Khairy also announced that a new unit will be set up for eSports (electronic gaming sports) at the NSC.
“It has been included in the official sporting programme of the 2022 Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, so we need to get ready. I understand we have world class players in electronic gaming and we want to see how to bring them in if they have the potential to contribute medals.
“I have also instructed the NSC to organise national competitions for skateboarding and climbing as these sports are now included at the Olympics.”