KUALA LUMPUR – Selection criteria for athletes under the Podium Programme will be tightened so that only deserving ones participate in the prestigious programme.
National Sports Institute (NSI) chief executive officer Dr Mohd Khairi Zawi said only athletes with medal prospects at the international level, especially Olympic Games, Asian Games and Commonwealth Games would be selected.
Mohd Khairi said the RM70 million allocation announced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak during the tabling of the Budget 2017 needed to be managed prudently, particularly in terms of funds for the athletes’ logistics.
“We requested for RM79 and received RM70 million, so we need to be careful in managing these funds, which will also be used for purchasing tickets for athletes travelling abroad that must be planned in advance for instance,” he told Bernama when asked to comment on the Budget 2017.
The RM70 million allocation also included preparations of athletes participating at international level Games.
The sports sector continued to receive the government’s attention with the provision of RM1.2 billion for national sports development next year.
When tabling the budget, Najib said it included RM450 million special allocation for the 29th SEA Games and ninth ASEAN Para Games in 2017 in Kuala Lumpur.
A total of 755 national athletes currently making preparations for the two Games are participating in the Prodium Programme (Elite Athletes), which among others targeted for Malaysia’s first Olympic gold.