KOTA SAMARAHAN: More tournaments, especially national and international ones, look set to take place in Sarawak as the state government wants to ensure that sports venues do not turn into white elephants.
According to Assistant Minister of Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah, after the 2016 Sukma hosted by the state in July, the state government is determined to maximise these facilities while reaping the benefits.
“Organising more tournaments seem to be the right way for these sports venues and facilities. Not only will it help utilise out sports venues and facilities, it will also contribute to local sports development,” he told reporters during the 2016 Samarahan Bike Challenge held here yesterday.
High on the agenda are two major international sporting events in the next few months.
The World Grand Prix Diving Championships looks set to be held at the Pandelela Rinong State Aquatics Centre from Oct 18-23 while the Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Dr Wong Soon Kai Inter-Club Swimming Championship is also scheduled to be held at the same venue in December.
The assistant minister also highlighted a class one international badminton masters event to be hosted by the state.
“We are finalising the deal to host the tournament and I can say that we are excited at the prospect of organising such a prestigious event here in the state as early as early next year. Top badminton players will come and play here in the state,” he said.
The state built a number of new sports venues for the recent Sukma such as the RM39 million Sibu Indoor Stadium and the State Aquatics Centre (RM163 million), recently renamed the Pandelela Rinong State Aquatics Centre.
Other facilities built or renovated included the state squash centre, state shooting range, state lawn bowl centre and the Sukma XVIII ICT centre.
Steps to use these stadia and facilities would help avoid what happened to the Sarawak Stadium which was built at the cost of RM120 million for the purpose of the 1997 FIFA World Youth Championship hosted by the country.
It became notorious as white elephant as local football teams, including the state team, were unwilling to use it, probably after finding it difficult to fill its full capacity of 40,000.