IPOH: National Sports Council (NSC) director general Datuk Ahmad Shapawi Ismail is pleased as punch with the quality of the athletes at the Malaysia Games (Sukma) in Perak.
Six national records, one in swimming and five in weightlifting, and 54 Games records – weightlifting (22), shooting (10), archery (9), swimming (6) and track and field (7) – were set in Ipoh.
Shapawi said there was vast improvement in track and field events with several old records broken including the ones held by girls’ pole vaulter Roslinda Samsu (18-year-old record), Zaiful Zainal Abidin in the boys’ 400m (16-year-old) and Masliza Shaari in heptathlon (22-year-old).
Shapawi applauded the states for putting in a great effort.
“This year’s Sukma showed the quality of the athletes, it shows the state sports council have worked harder to prepare their athletes,” said Shapawi.
He, however, admitted that there was still a significant gap between states in certain sports like gymnastics, diving and cycling.
“The good thing is that all the contingents participated in most sports but there’s a gap between states in several sports like gymnastics and cycling. Some states are very dominant.
“There’s a need to introduce compulsory routines to make it a level playing field in sports such as gymnastics and diving.
“Compulsory routines are practised in China and I think it can be implemented in the Sukma. We don’t want states to shy away from certain sports, we want more participations.”
Shapawi added that he was worried about a dwindling number of Indian athletes and hopes to see a higher participation in the future. There were 261 Indian athletes, 4,252 Malay, 1,028 Chinese and 469 of other races.
“Indian athletes used to be show stealers in Sukma especially in athletics but their numbers have dwindled and steps must be taken to increase the number,” he said.
On the outstanding performance of weightlifters, Shapawi was cautious about heaping praises on them as the sport is still overshadowed by doping controversies.
“I’m proud of the performance of weightlifters but one weightlifter has been tested positive for doping in the pre Games screening test and I prayed that we don’t have to deal with any doping cases here.”