National athletics team to wait until July for training


THE national athletics squad is expected to wait until July to start full training even though the government has allowed many sport and recreational activities starting today under the Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO).

The National Sport Council (MSN) is currently giving focus to look after the safety of athletes under the Road to Tokyo (RTT) programme by closing the facilities in Bukit Jalil to other athletes until the special training camp ends on June 30.

National athletics chief coach, Mohd Manshahar Abd Jalil said he would be holding a meeting with MSN soon to discuss a suitable date to resume training as well as the standard operating procedure (SOP) involved.

“For the time being, training has not started, may have to wait until the RTT special training camp in Bukit Jalil is over as they conducting training under quarantine. We have to adhere to the complete procedure including obtaining the approval of the government especially the National Security Council to start training.

“However, our athletes would continue to train on their own at suitable venues under the supervision of their respective coaches. The coaches would in turn send their training reports to me and MSN every week,” he told Bernama.

The national athletics squad comprised about 50 athletes including elite and junior athletes with most of them undergoing training at MSN, Bukit Jalil and Tunku Mahkota Ismail Sports School (SSTMI).

All national athletes were told to vacate their hostel and return before the MCO came into force on March 18 and now only athletes preparing for Olympics under the RTT programme have returned for training at Bukit Jalil, Bukit Kiara (badminton) and Langkawi (sailing).

Asked if there were proposals to hold training at alternative venues, Mohd Manshahar said many aspects have to be evaluated such as SOP, facilities and equipment as well as accommodation.

He hoped the COVID-19 outbreak would end soon so that athletes could continue their training which has been postponed for about three months.

“I hope athletes would remain motivated and ready to start full training as all plans would be made by us,” he said.