PETALING JAYA: It appears that vaccination is the best way for Malaysian athletes to stop the Covid-19 virus from disrupting the sporting landscape in 2021.
Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) president Tan Sri Norza Zakaria had mentioned earlier that they are holding talks with the relevant authorities, especially the Health Ministry, in providing access to vaccines for the Malaysian Olympic contingent before they leave for the Tokyo Olympics in July.
Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin yesterday said they will start a national rollout of vaccines by the end of this month and hopes all Malaysians will join hands to make it a success.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) are also in favour of getting the athletes vaccinated before they arrive in Tokyo although it is not a mandatory requirement.
The Olympic Games were delayed by a year because of Covid-19 pandemic and are now scheduled from July 23-Aug 8.
Indonesia and Singapore also are planning to vaccinate their Olympics and SEA Games teams.
Currently, most countries are still grappling with the spread of Covid-19 cases and borders are expected to stay close to outsiders.
Thus many sports competitions are not expected to take place too soon.
Asia Tour Cycling No. 1 ranked team Sapura will be hoping to return to racing only in the second half of the year as there are no suitable races on the continent.
Team principal Sayuti Zahit said they can only return to a normal schedule if vaccines are available to the athletes.
“It is an unusual time and all we can do is train until the movement control order (MCO) ends.
“We will make a request when the time comes as this will make travelling easier. The UAE Emirates Tour team have already been vaccinated and there is no issue so far, ” he said.
It is also good that Malaysia is getting the vaccines later than other countries, so there is more time for the authorities to see the effectiveness.
UAE Emirates are the first UCI World Team to be vaccinated. It is a disaster for a road cyclist to contract Covid-19 as the virus can lead to long term damage to the respiratory system.
National diver Leong Mun Yee (pic) also supports the idea of them getting vaccines before venturing abroad.
“I am not sure but at some point later this year we might be going to another country to prepare for a competition.
“Having the vaccine will make us feel more confident and safe to step out, ” commented the veteran diver, who is set to make her fifth Olympic appearance for Malaysia in Tokyo.
Mun Yee has already qualified for the women’s 10m platform synchro event with Pandelela Rinong for Tokyo Olympics.