Sukma 2020 postponed due to Covid-19: Reezal Merican

KUALA LUMPUR: This July’s Malaysia Games (Sukma) in Johor have been postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican (pix) said the decision to postpone the Games to a date to be confirmed later was made at the Sukma Supreme Committee meeting, which was held via video conferencing, today.He said in a statement that the decision took into account the most important aspect – the health and safety of athletes, coaches, officials and everyone involved in the Games. “The committee also agreed that the new dates will be decided at a meeting to be held in early May the latest. The majority agreed to two suggested dates, either in December or for the Games to be carried forward to 2021, depending on several factors.“Among them are the constant monitoring of the latest Covid-19 development; making sure the dates do not clash with other important events like public examinations or major sports activities; as well as to scrutinise and take into account the interests of all Sukma 2020 stakeholders, especially that of host Johor,” he said.Almost 30,000 athletes, officials, media personnel and volunteers are expected to attend the Johor Sukma from July 11-19.Reezal Merican said he has directed National Sports Council (NSC) director-general Datuk Ahmad Shapawi Ismail, in cooperation with the Johor Sukma Secretariat, to conduct a comprehensive review by taking into account the feedback from all stakeholders.The review should comprise all aspects of athlete qualification and preparation, implications on promotional activities, marketing, pre-Sukma programmes, sponsorship, branding, media coverage, logistics, facilities for specific sports events for it to be tabled at the next Sukma Supreme Committee meeting.The 14-member committee comprises all 14 state Youth and Sports executive councillors, including the Johor exco as host; Youth and Sports Ministry secretary-general Dr Waitchalla RRV Suppiah; Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) president Datuk Seri Mohamad Norza Zakaria; Ahmad Shapawi; National Sports Institute (NSI) chief executive officer Ahmad Faedzal Md Ramli; and the Johor Sukma Secretariat.Reezal Merican also asked Waitchalla, as chairman of the Johor 2020 Para Sukma Supreme Committee to similarly postpone the Sukma Para Games scheduled for Aug 11-22. – Bernama