240 Johor athletes withdraw from Sukma 2020

JOHOR BAHRU: Some 240 Johor athletes have withdrawn from the state contingent bound for the 2020 Malaysia Games (Sukma) in Kuala Lumpur which is expected to take place this year.

Johor State Sports Council (MSNJ) Youth and Sports Officer Mohammad Syafiq Hassan said the withdrawal of all these athletes from representing the state in the country’s foremost national games was due to reasons of age, pursuit of further studies and priority for employment.

The age limit to participate in the Sukma is 21.

“In general, this is happening (athletes withdrawing), I think not only in Johor, but many other states as well ...in Johor, almost 40 percent of the 600 athletes have withdrawn from sports programmes.

“(Among the factors cited for withdrawal are) Education, age and contemplation for the future like job prospects. We cannot stop them in terms of consideration for their own future,” he said when met by reporters after the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Johor Cricket Council (JCC) and Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman for the development of cricket in Johor, here today.

He said this when asked to comment on whether there were any Johor athletes withdrawing from participating in the 2020 Kuala Lumpur Sukma.

Mohammad Syafiq, however, explained that the vacant slots have been filled by other athletes through MSNJ’s development programmes.

He said the 2020 KL Sukma is expected to be a platform to test the Johor team in preparation for 2024 when the state will play host.

“We hope that with our athletes in the development stage for Sukma 2020, they will be able to shoulder the responsibility for our charge (in Sukma 2024),“ he said.

He said the Johor contingent will be ready to face 2020 KL Sukma as the athletes’ training sessions are ongoing.

In October last year, Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu said the Sukma Supreme Committee had agreed to postpone the Johor Sukma to 2024.

Ahmad Faizal at that time said the committee also agreed for the National Sports Council to organise the Sukma and Para Sukma 2020 in Kuala Lumpur this year.-Bernama