Johor Sukma to be held without spectators?

Datuk Ahmad Faizal Azumu

JOHOR BARU: The Youth and Sports Ministry are mulling over what is the best method to hold the Malaysia Games (Sukma), including the possibility of not having spectators present, so as to ensure a smooth and safe running of the multi-sports Games.

Their Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu, citing the recent Tokyo Olympics, said among the other aspects that needed to be looked at in deciding how to hold the Sukma included the participation of teenagers aged 17 and below who have yet to be vaccinated against Covid-19.

“Bear in mind, Sukma involves (many) athletes aged 17 and below ... because it’s where we look for talent. So, this is among the issues we have to think of (in terms of hosting the Games),” he told reporters after visiting the OKU Sentral drive-through vaccination centre at the Johor Baru City Council Aquatic Centre yesterday.

Also present were Johor Baru district officer Datuk Abdul Rahman Salleh and Senator Datuk Ras Adiba Radzi, who is also the president of OKU Sentral.

Ahmad Faizal also described the cancellation of this year’s President’s Cup and Youth Cup football competitions as a “responsible decision” based on the Covid-19 risk evaluation that was done.

“It will be difficult for us to control the huge number of players from each squad in terms of managing or having a sports bubble.

“Secondly, most of these players have not been vaccinated ... so, we are responsible for their health. As such, the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) made a decision (which) in my view was very responsible. So, it’s the same with Sukma,” he said.

On the organisation of Sukma, which Johor was supposed to have hosted in 2020, Ahmad Faizal said he would discuss the matter with the state’s Tourism, Youth and Sports Committee chairman Datuk Onn Hafiz Ghazi.

“I see that Johor has made a very detailed preparation. All the venues are ready and, in fact, I see that these venues have been well maintained. I believe Johor is ready to host the Sukma but I have come to also hold a discussion with him (Onn Hafiz) and the state government on the best way to move forward next year,” he said when commenting on whether the Sukma would follow the method used for the hosting of the recent Tokyo Olympics. — Bernama

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