Age poser after yet another Sukma delay

PETALING JAYA: The age eligibility of Malaysia Games (Sukma) athletes will be a poser as the meet has been postponed for the third time. Yesterday, the Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican announced that the Games will be deferred by a year to 2022. It will however, will still be held in Johor Baru.

The biennial Games was initially scheduled in June but was postponed to March next year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The ministry then had to give up the March dates to accommodate the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia examinations.

The Games, which is for athletes aged 21 and below, will see some of them being over-aged for the 2022 edition unless exceptions are made. The technical committee will make a decision on this soon.

Reezal said they could not fit in the Games next year as it is already packed with other major sporting events and also the Ramadan month (April 13-May 12).

“There’s the football European Championship (June 11-July 11), Olympic Games (July 23-Aug 8) and Paralympics (Aug 24-Sept 5). There are other local tournaments too and it’s all too close, ” said Reezal after meeting via online with all the stakeholders.

“We expect 30,000 people to gather in Johor Baru and at this stage, it is difficult to assure their safety.

“With two previous postponements as well, the cost of organising the event has also increased.”

Reezal, however, is happy with Johor’s commitment to host the Games and also the para events in 2022.

“All the facilities for the Games are in place and Johor is committed to welcome the participating teams in 2022, ” he said.

Meanwhile, the National Sports Council will co-host the Games with either Selangor or Kuala Lumpur in 2024 while Kelantan will stage the event in 2026.

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