PETALING JAYA: Malaysia’s Olympics hopefuls can finally heave a huge sigh of relief.
A total of 57 athletes will be able to restart their preparations for next year’s Olympic Games and Paralympics in Tokyo now that the government has given them the green light to resume training from June 1.
The move will see all the 57 Road To Tokyo athletes undergoing centralised training with a quarantine-based approach in three different locations – Bukit Jalil Sports Complex, Academy Badminton Malaysia (ABM) in Bukit Kiara and National Sailing Centre in Langkawi.
They will be backed by a 208-strong supporting staff that will include coaches, officials and sparring partners, making it a total of 265 people involved in the first phase that ends on June 30.
The Bukit Jalil Sports Complex makes up the biggest training group with 181 individuals, followed by 56 at ABM and 28 in Langkawi.
All those involved in the programme will have to adhere to the standard operating procedures (SOPs) drawn up by a joint Special Execution Committee made up of the National Sports Council, National Sports Institute and related National Sports Associations.
Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican had presented the proposal to the Special Ministerial Committee meeting on the movement control order (MCO) chaired by Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.
The proposal comes in the wake of moves by countries like Australia and Belgium to ease their restrictions to enable their high-performance athletes to return to training in May.
Since the start of the MCO on March 18, all training was halted and the athletes were only limited to doing fitness workouts at home.
This has certainly not been ideal as many started losing interest and were demotivated.
There are a total of 26 athletes who have made the cut to the Tokyo Games to date –12 for the Olympics in diving, archery, cycling, sailing and gymnastics and 14 for the Paralympics in swimming, archery, cycling, powerlifting, athletics and badminton.
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