17th Sukma: A Small State Gets Ready For A Big Event

Last update: 30/04/2014

By Adnan Jahaya


KANGAR (Bernama) -- It is certainly a big undertaking for Malaysia's smallest state. With the 17th Sukan Malaysia (Sukma) to start on May 24, Perlis is all out to ensure it emerges as the host of the most memorable edition of Malaysia's foremost sporting event.

Though preparations are still ongoing, the host state is confident of getting everything up and ready before the opening whistle.

The task is certainly daunting as the state with a population of 250,000 has to host 6,700 athletes and officials till June 4.

The 17th Sukma will see 19 compulsory events - aquatic, weight lifting, badminton, cycling, football, lawn ball, rhythmic gymnastic, hockey, karate, archery, shooting, athletics, silat, sailing, takraw, squash, tenpin bowling, taekwondo and wushu - all requiring their own venues.

And the games offered 396 gold medals, 396 silver and 497 bronze for the 19 events and another five selected events golf, canoe, petanque, tennis and boxing.

Perlis, is already feeling the heat due to the big scale promotional activities all over the nation highlighting the state and the brisk preparations taking place.

Apart from that, the Sukma baton run throughout the state has unleashed excitement among the local populace who are equally eager to celebrate the biennial sporting event held for the first time in the state.

ALL EVENTS ARE IN PERLIS

Is Perlis ready for the undertaking especially looking at the fact it is probably the first event of this sheer scale to be undertaken by the state?

There is no reason for anyone to doubt of Perlis' capability in ensuring the success of the games with Perlis Menteri Besar Azlan Man saying all events will take place in the state.

Azlan who is also the 17th Sukma's Organising Committee Chairman pointed out to Bernama that the facilities and game venues were almost 100 per cent complete.

He also provided the assurance that all buildings and facilities were made ready according to the specifications and there was no compromise on the safety of the athletes and the public.

Among the 17th Sukma venue in the state include the Syed Sirajuddin Areeb Putra Sports Complex, Politeknik Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin, Tasik Timah Tasoh, Felda Chuping, Sungai Batu Pahat, UiTM Perlis and Kolej Matrikulasi Perlis.

The other venues are the Dewan 2020, Kayangan Square, IKBN Kuala Perlis, Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan (SMK) Kuala Perlis and the Kuala Perlis-Changlun Highway.

WORK GOING ON BREAKNECK SPEED

In the run up to the country's major sporting event to unearth local sporting talents, the major facilities to be used for Sukma have been handed over to the Perlis State Sports Council (MSN) by the Public Works Department (PWD).

The three infrastructure costing nearly RM12 million are the boxing arena, tennis court and hostels.

The aquatic centre and facilities like badminton hall, squash court, main stadium and the Golf club is going through the final touches.

A brief survey conducted by Bernama indicated the final touches on the Perlis Sports Complex in Padang Nyaring going on at breakneck speed.

SPORTS VILLAGE

And speaking on the games village, there were some genuine fears that Perlis may not be able to cater for the big number of athletes and officials.

However, such question does not arise as there were several educational institutions that would provide adequate accommodation including the hostels in Universiti Malaysia Perlis (UniMAP), Universiti Teknoloji Mara (UiTM), Politeknik Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin and Institut Kemahiran Belia Negara (IKBN).

The safety and security of the athletes and officials are a priority with UiTM Perlis alone will ensure the safety of the 3,000 athletes and officials housed at its hostels in Arau.

Its rector Prof Datuk Dr Ahmad Redzuan Abd Rahman said that CCTVs would be installed at entry points to monitor the movements of the athletes and officials.

The police to will beef up the security aspects at the accommodation and games venue.

Perlis Police Chief Datuk Zull Aznam Haron said apart from ensuring safety and crowd control, the police would monitor the traffic flow and ensure cars were parked orderly.

More than 1,600 officers and men are now ready to ensure the games go on smoothly with preparations for the security for Sukma started two years ago.

Zull Aznam called for the public to cooperate and adhere to the police directives to avoid traffic congestion at the games venues that could disrupt the movement of the athletes and the event schedules.

AIMING FOR GOLD

Perlis not only wants to show that it is the host of the most memorable Sukma in so far but also wants to haul at least 14 gold medals, a big achievement for the state known as minnows in sports.

Perlis Youth and Sports Executive Committee Chairman, Abdul Jamil Saad said that the state has set the target of hauling 14 gold medals in the games held for the first time in the state.

However, he did not mention the events that were likely to bring gold for the host state.

And Perlis' athletes have good reason to smile as those who win medals will receive between RM2,000 and RM5,000.

SMALL STATE BIG MONEY

Organising Sukma is a costly affair with RM122 million allocated by the Ministry of Youth and Sports, apart from the RM5.5 million in sponsorship from the private sector.

Among the main sponsor were Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) that pledged RM3.5 million in infrastructure and RM200,000 cash while Telekom Malaysia (TM) pledged RM1 million.

The other sponsors include Spritzer, Proton, 100 plus, PLUS and Cement Industries of Malaysia Berhad (CIMA).

The 17th Sukma is certainly a major undertaking for the Perlis state government led by Azlan.

The Raja Perlis Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin Putra Jamalullail is expected to officiate the games on May 26 and the closing will be done by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak on June 4.

-- BERNAMA