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 Sports

Gymnasts set to switch training venue

14th August, 2020

By FRANCIS XAVIER

KOTA KINABALU: The state Kota Kinabalu-based artistic gymnastics athletes may have to switch their training venue from the state capital to Sandakan in their preparation for the Malaysia Games (Sukma) in Johor, next year.

They need to switch their training base in order for them to get a proper training venue to train on.

They were left without a proper training venue as their usual base – the gymnasium at the Kinabalu Sports Complex in Likas is still closed as it is situated too near to the multi-purpose hall, which has been turned into a temporary quarantine centre to aid efforts to contain the COVID-19 outbreak.

State coach, Liew Tong Ee revealed yesterday that they have indeed submitted an application for the budget to the Sabah Sports Council (SSC) for these athletes to join the rest of their team-mates, who are based in Sandakan.

“These athletes need to get a proper training venue and Sandakan can provide them that,” said Tong Ee yesterday. He said if their wish is granted, it will be great for the athletes and coaches based here (Kota Kinabalu) since they were unable to training at the gymnasium in Likas.

“We are still waiting for the approval (budget) from the SSC. Once approved, we will go to Sandakan. In fact, the plan was for us to go on the second week of this month but now it is not possible. So, hopefully, it will be next week,” he added.

According to Tong Ee, the full Sabah artistic gymnasticS Sukma squad comprises 12 athletes (six boys and six girls), and eight of them are currently based in Kota Kinabalu.

The boys are Ammar Zafi Firdaus, Abd Izzat Daniel Rauf, Charlie Richie Chong and Jacob Hezron, who is from Sandakan but now attending one of the colleges here.

As for the girls, they are Felicity Grace Sew Pei En, Ammanda Wong Yeah Chean, Nur Farisha Atiqah Shuaili and Cherfie Resie Chong.

“The four (Kota Kinabalu) boys and Felicity will train for one month in Sandakan…as for the remaining three girls, it will be on and off for them since they are still schooling.”

“For now, we are keeping our fingers crossed that the budget will be approved so that we can restart our training at a proper venue with proper equipment,” added Tong Ee, who coaches the Kota Kinabalu girls’ team, while also helping out with the Sukma squad training programme.

Tong Ee, along with Sukma team manager, Marilyn Buseong and Kota Kinabalu boys’ team coach, Loy Billy, would accompany the Kota Kinabalu squad to Sandakan.

The full Sabah Sukma artistic gymnastics squad also comprises athletes, Brandon Denoley Luise, Liew Jun Xiang, Jill Avie Horatio and Natalie Yap. They train under Azri Omar (boys) and Zamri Din (girls) in Sandakan. The Sukma 2020 was to take place from July 11-19 in Johor but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the country’s premier multi-sport event will now take place from March 6-14, 2021.

   
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