Athletes on the edge again as training grinds to a halt

PETALING JAYA: Athletes and sports operators in the country are bracing for uncertain times again.

With the re-enforced movement control order, all forms of outdoor or indoor activities have been restricted until Jan 26.

The government have brought back the MCO in five states – Federal Territories (Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Labuan), Sabah, Melaka, Penang, Selangor and Johor – to contain the spread of the Covid-19 cases.

Meanwhile Kedah, Perak, Negri Sembilan, Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang and three districts in Sarawak – Kuching, Sibu and Miri – are under CMCO.

Under the current MCO, only two persons from a household are allowed to cycle or jog provided they maintain physical distancing.

They also cannot stray more than 10km from their home although masks are not required when they go jogging or cycling.

Meanwhile, sports and recreational activities with no physical contact whether indoor or outdoor, are allowed under the CMCO with the activities extended until midnight.

Public sports facilities will still be open but limited to non-contact physical activity only with not more than 10 people.

For high jumper and the Philippines SEA Games gold medallist Hakimi Ismail, who is not part of the Bukit Jalil bubble, he has no choice but to stop training.

Only athletes who are in the Road to Tokyo programme geared for the Olympics are allowed to remain inside Bukit Jalil’s sports complex.

“I opted out of the centralised training camp since I have to take care of my children as my wife is working.

“However, I was allowed to train there before this but since there have been cases involving athletes and officials, the standard operating procedures (SOP) have been tightened.

“Despite being given a training programme by my coach it is now useless as there are no track or gymnasium open at the moment.

“I just hope we are allowed to go back to Bukit Jalil soon and hopefully it will not be extended, ” added Hakimi.

For the Sabah track cycling team, they too have stopped training at the National Velodrome in Nilai although Negri Sembilan is under CMCO.

“Any plans to resume will have to wait until this MCO ends. Honestly, I don’t think it will only be for two weeks as the cases now are alarmingly high, ” said coach Louis Pang.

“Unlike the national athletes who are staying in a nearby hotel, we do not have that luxury as we shuttle daily from Kuala Lumpur.

“With the MCO, we can’t cross state lines and I have to source for gym equipment so that my cyclists can at least put in some training. Thankfully, they can still go out cycling albeit not in a group, ” he said.

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