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2017 SEA Games

KUALA LUMPUR – SEA Games perennial power house Thailand are determined to mount a strong challenge in track and field events against host Malaysia during the upcoming 2017 Kuala Lumpur SEA Games (KL2017) next month by setting a 14-gold medal target.

Thailand athletics team manager Suchart Singhaklang said their gold medal hopes will hinge on the men’s 4x100m, 4x400m, javelin, decathlon as well as women’s discus throw and pole vault.

He said the target was lower than the previous edition’s achievement of 17 gold medals in Singapore due to the increasing challenge from neighbours Malaysia, Vietnam and Indonesia.

Meanwhile, for the 100m and 200m sprint events, he said 2013 Myanmar SEA Games triple gold medallist in 100m, 200m and 4x100m events, Jirapong Meenapra and youngster Siripol Punpa, who bagged gold at the ASEAN School Games in Singapore on Saturday, would challenge Malaysian sprint king, Khairul Hafiz Jantan for the title of SEA Games sprint king.

“All our athletes are currently training in Bangkok and participating in many local competitions in Thailand,” he told reporters when met during the 94th Malaysian Open Athletics Championship at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium here, today.

About 266 athletes from nine countries, including Laos, Brunei, Indonesia, Singapore, Sri Lanka and the Philippines took part in the two days championship, which is also known as pre-SEA Games tournament to test the equipment, venue and technical officials before hosting the biennial Games from Aug 19-30.

When asked about the newly refurbished stadium, Singhaklang who initially praised the infrastructure and facilities however, admitted that the new mondo track was too soft and that his athletes were not familiar with such conditions.

“We need to start to train on the soft track for the next one month to be ready for the SEA Games. Many of our athletes, including Jirapong couldn’t join this event because they are tired after competing in too many local competitions and hard training in Thailand,” he said.

In the 2015 Singapore and 2013 Myanmar SEA Games, Thailand led the athletics medal tally with 17 gold, 13 silver and nine bronze, while at the 2011 edition in Indonesia, the Thai’s claimed 14-9-9 medals to lead the tally. – BERNAMA

KOTA BHARU – About 2,000 participants took part and enlivened the 2017 Kuala Lumpur SEA Games Torch Run, which is in the Ketereh Parliamentary constituency today.

The torch from the Machang Parliamentary seat was handed over by Machang District Council president Mohd Zainudin Mohamed to Kelantan UMNO Youth chief Mohammad Azam Ismail at 3 pm before it was presented to Ketereh Member of Parliament Tan Sri Annuar Musa an hour later at the Sekolah Kebangsaan Sri Ketereh here.

The Ketereh Parliamentary seat is the torch run’s fourth stopover after the parliamentary constituencies of Machang, Tanah Merah and Jeli since the baton arrived in the state on Wednesday.

Speaking to reporters later, Annuar said the torch run, involving participants of various ages, was a sign of support by the people in the Ketereh constituency for Malaysia as host of the SEA Games.

“This torch is a sign of our support to the government and athletes involved in the SEA Games sports events this time and we are confident our national athletes are capable of achieving the targeted tally of medals,” he said.

He also thanked the Youth and Sports Ministry for choosing his parliamentary constituency for the national series of tours.

Tomorrow the torch will be brought to the parliamentary seats of Bachok and Pasir Puteh before it is handed over to the Terengganu representative. – BERNAMA

KUALA LUMPUR – Media personnel, especially local sports journalists have been advised to prepare well for the biggest Southeast Asian sports competition, the 2017 Kuala Lumpur SEA Games (KL2017) which is set to begin next month.

Sportswriters Association of Malaysia (SAM) president Ahmad Khawari Isa said it would be a huge task to provide the best coverage during the biennial event.

“Usually when we become the hosts of an event, the national sports journalists will be the busiest, as the main goal of the country’s contingent is to become the overall champion and therefore, the medal target would also be high.

“We do not want to miss out on providing the best coverage, so my advice to all media personnel is to work hard, because what’s important is we want to share every happy and sad moment of our national athletes with all Malaysians,” he said when met at SAM’s Aidilfitri open house at the Selangor Golf Club in Kota Damansara, yesterday.

Meanwhile, Khawari said the work station for media personnel – the Main Press Centre (MPC) – would be located at the Malaysian International Trade and Exhibition Center (MITEC) and would be ready soon.

He also assured that the work space would be able to accommodate more than 1,000 media personnel from all over Southeast Asia, and equipped with all necessary facilities to work comfortably.

“There have been no problems until now (for the preparations) and I believe before the first group of foreign media arrive on the first weekend of August, all facilities will be available to them and we will ensure there are no hiccups in terms of facilities,” he said. – BERNAMA

KOTA BHARU – A giant kite or ‘wau bulan’ will be used to fly the 29th SEA Games torch in the air, to symbolize the acceptance of the 2017 SEA Games (KL2017) Torch Run in Kelantan, this Saturday.

Kelantan Youth and Sports Department director Mohd Nadzri Yaacob said the giant ‘wau bulan’ measuring 10×10 square feet will be used to raise the torch in a ceremony at Pantai Irama, Bachok.

“A total of 29 small ‘wau bulan’ will accompany the giant ‘wau bulan’ at the event,” he told reporters in a press conference in conjunction with the launching of KL2017 Torch Run and 2017 Fit Malaysia programme at the state-level, here today.

Mohd Nadzri said the torch run would involve a distance of 300 kilometres, covering six territories namely Jeli, Tanah Merah, Machang, Kota Bharu, Bachok and Pasir Puteh before it would be handed over to the Terengganu representative.

The torch was expected to arrive in Jeli from Perak on Thursday before the launching opening gimmick by Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin on Saturday.

“In conjunction with the launching ceremony, Fit Malaysia programme will also be held involving two events, five-kilometre and 10-kilometre runs and cycling (10 and 30 kilometres). – BERNAMA

SEPANG – After a credible performance at the Korean Open Athletics Championships, national athlete Jonathan Nyepa is optimistic the Malaysian Athletics Federation (MAF) will select him for the 100-metres sprint event at the Kuala Lumpur SEA Games in August.

“Now, all Malaysian sprinters are working hard to be in the list for the individual events. Based on my time at the Korean Open Athletics Championship, I am in second place behind Hafiz (Khairul Hafiz Jantan),” said the 21-year-old athlete from Belaga, Sarawak, at the KL International Airport 2 here late last night upon his return from South Korea .

Khairul Hafiz is the 100m national record holder with a time of 10.18s.

Jonathan said his record time at the championship in Jeongseon, South Korea, was not his “peak”.

“I did not expect to record a time of below 10.30s. However, the success in Korea was not the peak. I want to reach the peak at the SEA Games,” said Jonathan, who was trained by former national sprinter Watson Nyambek at the initial stage of his involvement in athletics.

Jonathan won the silver medal at the Korean meet with a time of 10.28s, while fellow Malaysian athlete Nixson Kennedy finished on 10.43s.

The gold medal was won by host sprinter Kim Kok Young who set a new Korean national record of 10.07s.

“Actually, I did not expect to record my best time at the championship. It was very competitive. The Korean Olympic athlete (Kim) qualified for the World Athletics Championship,” he said.

Jonathan said he wanted to focus on the 100m and  4x100m events at the upcoming SEA Games.

He will be competing in the Asian Track and Field (ATF) Championship to be held in Bhubaneswar, India, from July 6 to 9 where he will be grouped for the first time with Khairul Hafiz, Nixson and Badrul Hisham Manap in the  4x100m event. – BERNAMA

LANGKAWI – The Malaysian sailing squad is capable of producing excellent results in sailing events at the Kuala Lumpur SEA Games said Malaysian contingent Chef-de-Mission (CDM) Datuk Marina Chin today.

Marina Chin said her confidence brewed from the reports submitted by the respective coaches on the training and preparations for the SEA Games which has entered the third phase.

“The sailors have achieved 80 percent of the forecast performance target set by the coaches,” she told reporters after visiting the preparations of sailors at the National Sailing Complex, here.

She said all 22 sailors selected to undergo training had shown a high level of commitment and eagerness to perform well in the 14 categories contested this year.

In the 2015 Singapore SEA Games, the Malaysian sailing contingent won seven gold, five silver and two bronze medals.

“Based on the reports and excellent results produced in training and competitions, I am confident sailing will be a leading contributor of gold medals for the country,” she said. – BERNAMA

SEPANG – Winning a bronze medal at the World Petanque Championships has boosted National petanque coach Zani Lisa Mohamed’s confidence in his charges to achieve a better result in the 2017 SEA Games compared to two years ago in the Singapore edition.

Despite winning only a bronze medal at the World Petanque Championships, players in the team had produced excellent performances to show that they can compete against strong teams from France, Madagascar and Thailand.

“I therefore feel we can achieve a better result than what we had managed in the Singapore edition,” said Zani Lisa after arriving with the team at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport, here today.

The National petanque team came home from the 2017 World Petanque Championships in Ghent, Belgium, with a bronze medal from Syed Akmal Fikri Syed Ali and Nur Thahira Tasnim Abdul Aziz in the mixed doubles competition.

The win was the first of its kind for Malaysia on the world stage.

“I can see that the players are in their best form now. In the past we have only managed to reach the quarterfinal stage but this time around Syed Akmal-Nur Thahira moved into the semifinal stage,” said Zani Lisa.

In the Singapore SEA Games the Malaysian petanque squad brought home one gold, three silver and one bronze medal and that was the best achievement for the sport since 2001.

“Since our participation in the SEA Games 2001, we managed to win a gold medal in Singapore two years ago and the overall haul was also the best. For the coming SEA Games, we have targetted another gold medal, just like what the National Sports Council has targetted,” said Zani Lisa.

Zani Lisa said Thailand and Cambodia will be Malaysia’s main contenders for the seven gold medals offered for petanque in the SEA Games.- BERNAMA

KUALA LUMPUR – It has taken years of meticulous planning but the 2017 Southeast Asian Games was forced to make a last-minute change to its schedule after organisers discovered its closing ceremony clashed with an important annual religious holiday.

Just months before the start of the biennial event in August, authorities announced the closing ceremony in Muslim-majority Malaysia will be a day earlier than scheduled, due to the clash with Islamic festival Hari Raya Haji.

The celebration will now be held on August 30, instead of Aug 31 which is the eve of the key holiday for Muslims, Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said.

Khairy told reporters on Tuesday that the change of date would not be an issue for the games which begin on Aug 19.

“The closing date of the SEA Games has been brought forward by one day, from Aug 31 to Aug 30. This is for us to celebrate a (Muslim) religious event … which falls on August 31,” the minister said.

“But this will not create any big problems to the competition in terms of venue or accommodation because we had created a buffer period from the start of the competition.”

Khairy added there will be some changes made to the schedule of a few sports events but that “by Aug 30th we would have finished all the events”.

The previous SEA Games unfolded in Singapore, which produced a slickly-organised event based around their newly-built, billion-dollar Sports Hub complex.

However, there were several controversies at the Games including arrests for alleged football match-fixing, and the Philippines’ request for a gender test on an Indonesian women’s volleyball player.

Suspected food poisoning laid low several cyclists, and Malaysians rallied round a top gymnast after critics slammed her for competing in revealing clothing.

Filipinos John Elmerson Fabriga and John David Pahoyo became inadvertent hits when footage of their consecutive, zero-point botched dives went viral on the Internet. — AFP

PUTRAJAYA – Construction work and upgrading of venues for the SEA Games and ASEAN Para Games (KL 2017) has reached 80 percent.

Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said the National Shooting Range in Subang has been completed while the other venues will be completed soon.

“All preparation for hosting KL 2017 is on track,” he told reporters after chairing the Malaysian SEA Games Organising Committee (MASOC) meeting today.

The National Velodrome in Nilai (cycling), MABA Stadium (basketball) and Putrajaya Water Sports Complex (triathlon, water skiing and surfboarding) will be handed over to MASOC this month.

The National Sailing Centre in Langkawi (sailing), Pudu Ulu Recreation Park in Cheras (petanque), Kinrara Oval (cricket) and Petaling Jaya City Council Stadium (rugby) are expected to be completed next month.

Khairy said the ministry has started registration of athletes for KL 2017 online via the respective National Olympic Councils (NOC).

“We received reports of hotel rooms booked and transportation of athletes and officials in terms of buses, security, traffic, etc.”

Present at the meeting were Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) president Tan Sri Tunku Imran Tuanku Ja’afar; MASOC CEO, Datuk Seri Zolkples Embong and OCM secretary-general Datuk Low Beng Choo.

The 29th SEA Games will be held from Aug 19-30 while the 9th ASEAN Para Games will be held from Sept 17-23. – BERNAMA

PUTRAJAYA – The Ministry of Youth and Sports is confident of meeting the RM80 million sponsorship target for both the 29th SEA Games and the ninth Para ASEAN Games, which is also known as KL 2017.

Its minister Khairy Jamaluddin said the Malaysian Organising SEA Games Committee (Masoc) managed to collect RM70 million worth of sponsorship so far and believed the remaining target of RM10 million is achievable before the games starts in August.

“I feel good as we have reached almost 90 per cent despite the challenging economic situation at the moment. I want to congratulate Masoc and all of our partners who have help us reached the (RM70 million) figures,” he said.

Khairy told a press conference this after witnessing the sponsorship ceremony from Prudential Assurance Malaysia Berhad (PAMB) to KL 2017, here today.

PAMB has come in as a silver category sponsor for the SEA Games to be held from Aug 19-31 and ASEAN Para Games from Sept 17-23 in which the insurance company will provide the insurance coverage for 13,000 volunteers and also some cash money for KL 2017.

Hence Khairy said the 13,000 volunteers who were selected out of 30,000 applications are currently undergoing training provided by Masoc to prepare themselves for both games. – BERNAMA