KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 20 — Shock and anger. That is the athletics fraternity’s reaction to marathon, 10,000m 3,000m steeplechase, decathlon and triathlon not being listed for the 2017 Kuala Lumpur SEA Games.
Sources told Malay Mail even the Sports Ministry is not pleased with the list that was released by Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) on Wednesday.
A sports official, who declined to be named, said: “I am against these events being excluded. The excuse of little or non-participation does not hold water.
“I was told even the minister (Khairy Jamaluddin) is not happy (with the list of events).”
When approached, Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) president Tunku Imran Ja’afar said: “I don’t have the papers with me but I think they are not on the proposed list. Please speak to MAF.”
He said associations can appeal for their sports and events to be included as the final list will only be approved in July while there is a SEA Games Federation Council meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday to discuss the 34 sports in the provisional list.
Besides athletics, the other 33 sports in the provisional list are aquatics, archery, badminton, basketball, boxing, cricket, cycling, equestrian, football and futsal, golf, gymnastics, hockey, karate, lawn bowls, netball, pencak silat, petanque, rugby 7s, sailing, sepak takraw, shooting, snooker and billiard, squash, table tennis, taekwondo, tennis, bowling, volleyball, water ski, weighlifting, wushu, ice hockey and ice skating.
Malaysian Athletics Federation (MAF) president Karim Ibrahim, meanwhile declined to comment, saying: “Please ask OCM. They are the organisers, ask them to speak.”
When contacted, 2017 SEA Games organising committee chief executive officer Datuk Seri Zolkples Embong only said: “I’m not sure about this. OCM has not forwarded me any list.”
Another official said: “The line up is
clearly to help Malaysia win medals. The manipulation of events happens at
every SEA Games but to forgo main athletic events is a shame.
“The objective of the SEA Games is to foster closer relationship between Asean nations but times have changed and many use this meet to gauge their capabilities and to break into bigger events.”
He said just because Malaysia doesn’t have medal-winning marathon runners, it doesn’t mean it should be excluded.
The move to leave out triathlon sparked triathlete Kimberly Yap to initiate an online petition to get it back for the 2017 Games.
It received 918 signatures by 4.15pm yesterday.