SEREMBAN: Young athletes, who have not been able to compete at a high level, do not despair.
For the Sports Ministry’s State Backup Talent Carnival (Karnival Bakat Pelapis Negeri) will provide them with an opportunity to do so.
Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin pointed out that only athletes who have not represented their states in the National Schools Sports Council (MSSM), national junior circuits or national junior championships are eligible to take part in the carnival.
"This carnival provides aspiring athletes from district and state training centres to experience a competition environment at national level," said Khairy, when met at the first leg of the Talent Carnival at the Paroi Sports Complex, Seremban, yesterday.
"From the previous years, a total of 177 young athletes from the talent programme have gone on to represent their states at the 2016 Sarawak Malaysia Games.
"In addition to that, a total of 123 athletes were drafted into the regional programmes (program serantau) full time and 62 of which have been selected for the national backup programme".
Khairy added that the carnival is in line with the objectives of the National Sports Transformation programme as it engages numerous age groups.
"The carnival does not clash with what is being done by MSSM. Instead it gives athletes, who previously were not selected, a chance to compete at a higher level.
"Indirectly, this carnival involves more athletes and is much more fair (in selection). Previously, we often heard of complaints in regard to selection for MSSM.
"This carnival practises an open concept. For example, we invited all swimming clubs to compete in the swimming competition. It is not limited to those who are training under state programmes."
A total of 991 male and 798 female athletes, aged between five and 15, took part in the first leg of the carnival. The second leg will be held in Ipoh in November.