No pressure on M’sian Commonwealth athletes

By BERNAMA

GOLD COAST • Malaysia has to win more than seven gold medals to meet its target of being among the top 10 nations in the Commonwealth Games.

However, Podium Programme director Tim Newenham does not want the athletes to feel pressured as they have gone through a lot of it during training sessions.

Newenhem, during press conference after the flag raising and team welcoming ceremony at the Games Village in Griffith University yesterday, said the athletes were already well prepared with centralised training and also have been given the best equipment before competing in the Games.

“They should deliver the best, we are backing them 100%. So, that’s what we expect from the athletes. The Podium Programme is just two years old, we want to meet the KPI (key performance indicators).

“Our KPI set by the minister is to get Malaysia to be among the top 10 nations in the Commonwealth Games and we are looking for something from the top athletes to seize the moment and make Malaysians proud,” he said.

The target was announced by Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin when the Podium Programme was set up in 2016, where Malaysia aims to win the first gold medal in the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

Besides the 2020 Olympics, the programme also targets a top 10 medal finish at the 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia and the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast.

“If we are under pressure and pass it on to the athletes, I don’t think we will help them to achieve anything, especially gold medals. They are ready and well prepared to do the best.

“Obviously, I am not under pressure if we do not achieve the target because we are giving 100% and now it’s time for the athletes to show their capabilities and do the best,” he said.

Meanwhile, a total of 150 national athletes and officials will take part in the parades of contingents at the opening ceremony of the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia today.

Olympic Council of Malaysia honorary secretary Datuk Low Beng Choo said however, not all athletes would take part in the parades, especially those whose events start tomorrow.

A total of 178 Malaysian athletes will compete at the Games that starts today and ends on April 15.

“The national contingent will wear the red and blue baju melayu and baju kurung by designer Cosry, worn during the opening ceremony of the 29th SEA Games last year.

“Not all athletes will take part as we want athletes whose event starts tomorrow to get enough rest and be well prepared,” he said after the flag-raising ceremony at the Games Village in the Griffith University.