Malaysian sport has been thrown into a gloomy chasm following the new Movement Control Order (MCO). I believe hope is the key word to turn things around.
Many had more or less predicted the scenario – second round of MCO from Jan 13 to 26.
The government put the brakes on all kinds of social activities in six states (Putrajaya, Kuala Lumpur and Labuan), Penang, Johor, Melaka, Sabah and Selangor.
And it is now up to hope – hoping for the best, hoping for the Covid-19 to end soon, hoping for sports to be given the green light to resume like before, hoping all sports will return to their normal and competitive glories again.
The clamp on sports will end on Jan 26 but it will not be a surprise if it is extended until after Chinese New Year as the health authorities have stated a minimum six-week lockdown is the only option to flatten the curve for Covid-19 cases.
Golf clubs, futsal operators, swimming and martial arts coaches will be praying that they get some form of leeway to allow them to stay alive in these trying times.
The sports industry did not escape the effects of the first MCO in March last year and it is hoped that the current lockdown will not drag on for too long.
It’s also the same for those in the motorsports fraternity as they found themselves floored for the second time in less than a year.
Motorsports are among the biggest losers in troubled times as the teams are very much dependent on private sector sponsorship.
Local car and motorcycle racing teams have been fighting for survival since the pandemic spread to our shores early last year and only saw some hope recently when local races resumed – briefly.
Thankfully, the organisers of the Malaysian Cub Prix Championship managed to get the season wrapped up just last month.
This allowed them to fulfil obligations to their sponsors and subsequently they were able to pay their employees, many of whom are remunerated on a race-by-race basis.
The Sepang International Circuit (SIC) were also hit hard last year as they lost a big chunk of revenue in track rental fees as events were unable to take off.
They also had to make the painful decision to let go of the hosting of the Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix in November as the country’s borders were still closed to international visitors.
SIC chief executive officer Azhan Shafriman Hanif is hopeful the circuit operator can manage during these trying times.
“It’s not only SIC. The pandemic has hit everyone hard.
“As for the cash flow, we are still managing.
“We have implemented cost-cutting measures. But we are not laying off any staff at the moment and are looking at operational excellence.
“Hopefully, we can get out of this situation soon, ” he said in a conference call with the Malaysian media on Thursday.
Well, it is important everyone does not lose hope as it the only thing that keeps the human spirit alive in these trying times.