National athletes to celebrate Syawal in training camp


KUALA LUMPUR – With their minds focused on doing well at upcoming multi-sports events, national athletes will be sacrificing their Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebrations this year amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

National Sports Council (NSC) Athletes Division director Jefri Ngadirin (picture) said with the Tokyo Olympics and Hanoi SEA Games in their sights, the athletes will only be celebrating Syawal on a small scale in their training centres and are not allowed to go out.

“Our plan is to have moderate celebrations involving athletes and coaches staying in camp. But it all depends on the COVID-19 situation then,” he told Bernama when contacted today.

The athletes returned to quarantine-based training at the NSC facilities in Bukit Jalil and a few other places, including the Academy Badminton Malaysia (ABM), the past few days due to the fresh Movement Control Order (MCO) announced by the government.

Jefri said NSC opted for quarantine-based training after taking into consideration the MCO and the recent spike in COVID-19 cases in the country.

“Of course, NSC is worried about possible disruptions to training and competitions due to COVID-19. That’s why we decided to have quarantine-based training camp.

“All athletes and coaches under the NSC programme have been advised to always abide by the set standard operating procedure (SOP),” he added.

He said all the athletes and coaches had undergone the RTK Antigen test three weeks ago and would take another one next week.

Media reports said that 11 sepak takraw athletes and coaches were tested positive for COVID-19 after attending an IFTAR event organised by the Sepak Takraw Association of Malaysia recently.

Earlier, 15 players had been infected at ABM since April 17, while a junior athlete and his coach had also tested positive in the national bowling camp.

Meanwhile, Jefri said the national muay thai squad are expected to depart for Thailand next week for training and competitions.