BE­LIEVE WHAT YOU SEE

Three world cham­pi­ons to lead Malaysia at open­ing cer­e­mony

New Straits Times - - Sport - MOHD FITRIE MUHAMAD mfitrie@bh.com.my

THE Sea Games, in its 56 years his­tory, has never seen any­thing like this. For the first time ever, of the 11 par­tic­i­pat­ing na­tions, a con­tin­gent, that is MALAYSIA, will march be­hind not one but three world cham­pi­ons at the open­ing cer­e­mony of the Kuala Lumpur Sea Games on Aug 19.

Cy­clist Az­izul­hasni Awang, pen­cak silat ex­po­nent Mohd Al Juf­feri Ja­mari and diver Cheong Jun Hoong will have the hon­our of be­ing Malaysia’s flag bear­ers for the 29th edi­tion of the bi­en­nial spectacular.

Sports Min­is­ter Khairy Ja­malud­din said the three ath­letes were given the hon­our in recog­ni­tion of their achieve­ments on the world stage.

Khairy said the de­ci­sion was made af­ter con­duct­ing a de­tailed eval­u­a­tion of the coun­try’s top can­di­dates.

“Af­ter much con­sid­er­a­tion, we have de­cided to do things dif­fer­ently this time and have three flag bear­ers,” said Khairy at the na­tional con­tin­gent’s fi­nal camp at Ho­tel Re­nais­sance in Kuala Lumpur on Mon­day.

“This is in recog­ni­tion of their achieve­ments as all three are world cham­pi­ons.”

Juf­feri was sur­prised to be se­lected for the role and is ea­ger to do the na­tion proud at the games.

“I was not aware of the se­lec­tion. I was only told to be pre­pared,” he said.

“It gives me added mo­ti­va­tion to do well. I can’t wait, if pos­si­ble I want the Sea Games to start tomorrow.”

Khairy said: “The war drums have been sounded, the torch has been lit. We are phys­i­cally and men­tally ready, there is noth­ing that can stop us now. Go out and chase for the gold, never give up,” said Khairy in his speech.

“There are many things to worry about but there is only one that keeps me up at night and it is not the open­ing cer­e­mony, not the web­site, not the public trans­port or even our so­cial me­dia sites.

“The main con­cern for me is the de­sire that each of of you (ath­letes) have, re­gard­less of whether male or fe­male, whether you com­pete in the Sea Games or Para Games, whether you are from Jo­hor or Sarawak, young or vet­eran, to win a gold medal.”

Khairy stressed that the na­tional ath­letes should not waste all the ef­forts and sac­ri­fices they have made over the years and should live up to their po­ten­tial at the games.

PIC BY SHIRAZ YAS­MINE ALI

Sports Min­is­ter Khairy Ja­malud­din join­ing the Malaysian con­tin­gent in their fi­nal camp at Ho­tel Re­nais­sance in Kuala Lumpur on Mon­day.

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