Thursday, 06 Aug 2020
SPORTS
24/07/2020 06:06 PM

KUALA LUMPUR, 24 Julai -- The Malaysian Boxing Association (PTM) is ready to rise to the challenge of the Malaysian Olympic Council (OCM) to only send athletes who are capable of contributing a gold medal to the 31st SEA Games in Vietnam, next year.

PTM deputy president, Mohd Iruan Zulkifli said it was time the national boxers discard their image as ‘jaguh kampung’ (village champions) by proving their capability at a much higher level such as the Asian and Commonwealth Games, in fact to continue their struggle to the Olympics.

He said PTM endeavoured to rope in a foreign coach and move the training centre to Nilai, Negeri Sembilan, which is more sophisticated and modern, next year, in the hope that it could boost the spirit of the boxers to wrest for success at a higher level.

‘’OCM has set a condition that only athletes who can contribute gold be sent to Hanoi. So, the boxing athletes must pay close attention to the condition and focus on giving an examplary performance. It would be meaningless, if they feel that they only want to be village champions.

‘’Now, they must train seriously and win a gold in Hanoi to safeguard the image of the country. This time PTM and the National Sports Council (NSC) are also more stringent in terms of drawing up the athletes’ preparation and contracts,’’ he told reporters after a contract-signing ceremony and meeting with athletes and coaches at the Keramat NSC here today.

For the record, six boxers were given contracts with NSC under the podium programme while five signed contracts under the back up programme effective April 1 until Dec 31.

The six boxers under the podium programme were Mohd Fuad Mohd Redzuan (52 kg), Muhammad Rasdenal Haikal Fadzli (49 kg), Mohd Akram Rasit (60 kg), Halim Izani Suliman (64 kg), Mohd Aswan Che Azmi (69 kg), dan Khirakyazlan Azmi (81 kg).

Mohd Iruan stressed any boxer from the Podium Programme and the back ups who were indisciplined and failed to demonstrate a consistent performance and high commitment risked being dropped and replaced with better boxers from the state associations.

The Perak Menteri Besar Cup Championship, which is expected to take place in October, would be the first test for the national boxers following the absence of competition due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the Movement Control Order (MCO).

Commenting further on the appointment of a coach, he said PTM was discussing with NSC to select the best candidate for the national team, after shortlisting four candidates from three countries, namely, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Cuba.

‘’Maybe, by the middle of August we will be able to complete the selection so that the coach can begin his duty in September. We cannot delay the selection because the athletes must begin their preparation,’’ he added.

-- BERNAMA

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