OCM president Tuanku Imran Tuanku Ja’afar (front, third from left) and chef-de-mission Datuk Seri Dr Ibrahim Saad (front, second from left) with the Malaysian athletes and officials after the flag-handing over ceremony for the Asian Beach Games yesterday. — Pic: KHALID REDZA
THE inaugural Asian Beach Games in Bali on Oct 18-26 will be a chance for many athletes of obscure sports to pit their skills against the best Asia has to offer.
With that came the reminder from Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) president Tunku Imran Tuanku Ja'afar that they are still obligated to uphold the country's image in terms of discipline and fair play when play begins at the Indonesian resort island.
"You will be representing not just your own sport but the whole contingent in front of a far greater audience and a bigger following than normal. It is important that you not only perform to the best of your ability, but also uphold the name of Malaysia and the contingent with discipline," said Tunku Imran before handing over the 'Jalur Gemilang' to chef-de-mission Datuk Seri Dr Ibrahim Saad at Wisma OCM in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
Malaysia will be represented by 62 athletes and 24 officials in 10 of the 17 medal sports being contested, where 64 gold medals are at stake, but only beach pencak silat is expected to deliver a medal or two.
The beach volleyball pair of Beh Shun Ting-Iswari Manokharan, bodybuilders Buda Anchah, Mohd Hamiruddin Haron and Jauneh Leman, triathletes Shahrom Abdullah, Chan Wai Yong and Irene Chong See Win and the beach sepaktakraw and beach soccer teams, who won the Desaru Beach Soccer Invitational Raja Muda Johor Cup recently, will also be hoping to feature among the medals.
Malaysia will also compete in beach kabbadi, paragliding, sailing, woodball and the demonstration sport of beach basketball with the entire contingent paying their own way to Bali.
No medal target has been set by either OCM or Ibrahim due to the difficulty of gauging the strength of the opposition.
However, as the Asian Beach Games does not fall under the government's sports performance incentive scheme, any medallist in Bali will not receive the cash award given to Asian Games medallists. -- DEVINDER SINGH