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Hunt for future stars begins

7th December, 2017


KOTA KINABALU: It is going to be all about sporting action in Sandakan where the eighth edition of the Sabah Games, or Saga as it is popularly known, will be happening for the next 10 days or so.

The Games for under 20 years’ old athletes, which is staged biennially, is the largest multi-sports event in the state, and will unofficially get underway from today.

Hockey that features both genders will get the ball rolling at the Sandakan Sports Complex hockey pitch today. The opening match has been set for 6am while the last match for the day will start at 4.30pm.

Altogether, there are 20 sporting disciplines, including hockey, to be competed offering a total of 197 gold, 197 silver and 285 bronze medals.

The rest of the sports are badminton, cycling, netball, basketball, football, volleyball, lawn bowls, golf, karate, archery, track and field, pencak silat, petanque, rugby, sepaktakraw, taekwondo, tennis, boxing and table tennis. More than 7,000 athletes, coaches and officials from 26 contingents (districts) will converge in Sandakan throughout the Games.

For the record, Kota Kinabalu are the defending champions, and will again be the team to beat.

In fact, they are the undisputed champions, having emerged as the overall winners of the previous editions of the Games, albeit that, in the first three editions, it was an inter-zone affair before it was turned into inter-district in 2009.

The Games that was held since 2001 will be the platform for athletes to get selected to don state colours at national level competitions.

Assistant Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Masiung Banah when contacted by the New Sabah Times Sports yesterday urged the Sandakan public to come in numbers, and give their fullest support towards making this edition of the Games the best ever held in its history.

He said their presence at any of the competition venues will not only make the Games merrier, but it could also help boost and lift the spirit of the participating athletes.

Masiung, who is also the deputy chairman of the organising committee, added that there is every reason for the public to support and witness the events, as after all, this is the state’s biggest sporting carnival.

“Let’s all try and make this edition of the Games a memorable one for all … the Sandakan public, the athletes, coaches and officials,” Masiung urged.

For the record, this will be the second time the Games are being held on Sandakan soil. The first was in 2009. Masiung also called on Sabah young athletes to be “focused and fearless” in their search for sporting glory. Masiung said they should not fear anything, but go down to the battlefield and give their utmost best for their respective teams.

“This is an opportunity to test one’s mettle and to feel the camaraderie of being part of a team. All are virtues that make sports a worthy endeavour,” Masiung said.

“Saga is undoubtedly the stepping stone to those who wish to pursue their sporting careers to the highest level,” he added.

“If they can do well here, their chances of getting selected to don Sabah colours will be brighter.

“With the Malaysia Games in Perak just around the corner, this will surely be the best venue and opportunity for them to get noticed and selected,” he said, while reminding the athletes as well coaches and team officials alike to show high sportsmanship and maintain good discipline throughout the Games.

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