Tuesday, November 20, 2007

OCM Must Protest Dropping Of Events, Says Azalina

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 19 (Bernama) -- Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said advised the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) to protest the action by Thailand's SEA Games organising committee in dropping 12 events from the Korat Games next month.

She said the OCM, being the umbrella organisation for sports associations, should have been more aggressive and discussed with its counterparts from the other countries in determining the sports to be contested much earlier.

"It would have saved us from making preparations. Eleventh-hour dropping of events is not fair to the athletes and countries due to take part," she told reporters after visiting the bowling contingent for the Games here today.

Azalina also said that there must be consistency when organising the biennial games and that 70 per cent of sports competed should be retained with the remaining 30 per cent up to the discretion of the host country.

On Friday, Thailand announced that it was dropping 12 events from the lineup. Malaysia had eyed medal prospects in five of them.

They are skeet, trap and double trap in shooting (only Thailand and Vietnam confirmed participation), women's wind surfing (Thailand/Malaysia), 48kg and 76kg above women's weightlifting (Thailand/Malaysia), individual and team equestrian (Thailand/Malaysia), women's individual squash (Thailand/Malaysia), bantamweight and lightweight Muaythai (Thailand/Philippines) and downhill women's cycling (Thailand/Malaysia).

Azalina also expressed disappointment that even a popular event like women's squash was dropped.

"As for equestrian, we have bought horses. What happens now?," she said.

For the Korat SEA Games, Malaysia have set a target of 61 gold medals, the same number won at the last Games in Manila in 2005.


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