KUALA LUMPUR: The high cost of sending athletes, which includes flight expenses, to the Sukma (Malaysia Games) in Sarawak next year is one of the reasons why there are fewer athletes participating in the Games, the Dewan Negara was told.
Deputy Youth and Sports Minister Datuk M. Saravanan said the ministry was negotiating with several airlines to subsidise the cost of flying.
“We are aware of the constraints and we are looking for ways to reduce the cost and provide opportunities for more talented athletes to compete,” he said in reply to a supplementary question by Senator Datuk Ng Chiang Chin.
Saravanan said the ministry was planning to send athletes with the prospect of winning medals as well as to gain experience and exposure.
He added that Sukma, which started in 1986, had proved to be successful in achieving the objectives of developing athletes and constructing sports facilities.
“In terms of development, Sukma has managed to unearth and identify young talent with the potential to excel in various sports. It also allows each state an opportunity to build and upgrade its sports facilities.
“This is because the Sukma is hosted on a rotation basis every two years to ensure that every state has sports facilities for grassroots development,” he said.
Regarding the expenses involved in organising Sukma, Saravanan said the amount varies according to the state because it depended on the existing sports facilities and construction of new facilities.
Usually, the host state will apply directly to the Finance Ministry for allocations for the construction and upgrading of the sports venue identified, he added. — Bernama