Let Sukma be trouble-free for a change

THIS is my seventh Malaysia Games (Sukma).

The StarSport team will be off to the tiny state of Perlis on Thursday which happens to be my birthday.

The northern state will host the Games for the first time since its inception in 1984.

Well, every state should host Sukma because of its significant role in unearthing new talents. That’s why we have placed utmost importance in bringing a strong team of five reporters and three photographers to cover the Games, which begin on Saturday.

A total of 24 sports will be competed in Sukma, which offers 396 golds, 396 silvers and 453 bronzes.

Like the previous hosts, the grand opening ceremony on Saturday is being kept as a surprise.

Two years ago in Pahang, the organisers spent RM21mil on the aquatic centre but they still cannot get the diving facilities right.

For example, the length of the diving platform on the higher level is supposed to be extended out by one metre in order to allow the divers to execute their routines without risking serious injuries.

The board for the 10 metre platform must extend out a metre above the seven metre height but this was not the case.

It was only discovered during the inspection on the eve of the diving competition.

As a result, the organisers were forced to reschedule the diving competition.

Now, why are there last-minute hitches and delays in construction work in every Sukma despite the hosts being given sufficient time to organise the Games?

And guess what? Perlis is no exception either. 

There have already been concerns about the rush to complete the aquatic and badminton venues – with the Games barely two days away.

The state government has spent RM150mil to build and renovate the various stadiums. 

The organisers are working round the clock to finish the work in time. Work on the floor of the badminton stadium only began a week ago!

As for the aquatic centre, the workers only started fixing the roof last week. How come there is a delay when construction work actually began last year?

Even if the two venues are ready in time, there will be no chance for the officials to hold a dry run.

Without holding a proper check of the facilities, it can cause injuries to athletes – especially in the swimming and diving events.

However, Perlis Mentri Besar Azlan Man has given an assurance that the two stadiums will be ready on time. But can he assure that there will be no injuries or hiccups at these venues?

Azlan has also given assurance regarding the athletes’ safety during the Games. 

The National Sports Council (NSC) hosted Sukma in Kuala Lumpur last year for the non-Olympic sports but the Games were marred by the rape of a chaperone at the Games Village.

Three handball players – Adib Adha Ismail, 18; Mohammad Shaizzad Shafie, 19; and Megat Farzeril Faiz Razali, 19 – were charged separately in three Sessions Courts with raping the 20-year-old chaperone.

They were charged with raping the woman at about 4am in a room in Enggang Block at Second College, Universiti Putra Malaysia in Serdang on July 4, last year.

The case is still pending. 

Azlan said that a total of 1,600 police personnel will be deployed at various venues and hostels for the Games.

The Federal Reserve Unit (FRU) and Rela will also help ensure the safety of athletes during the Games.

The Perlis Sukma will also see the introduction of doping and breathalyser tests. 

The tests will be conducted at random by the Anti-Doping Agency of Malaysia during the Games.

The changes are necessary to ensure the smooth running of future Games.

Athletes have also been advised to be careful about their meals as almost every Sukma is tainted with reports of food poisoning.

In Kuantan two years ago, the Johor girls’ hockey team almost withdrew when eight of their players suffered from food poisoning. 

The Games in Kangar will be very near to the border of Thailand. Surely, many athletes and officials will grab the opportunity to travel to Danok for some shopping. Let’s hope common sense prevails and they don’t wander off too far in search of a bargain! 

As for me, I’m just hoping for a trouble-free Games with the main focus being the athletes and their achievements.

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Sukma , Perlis , National Sports Council


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