BOOST: SportExcel to hold four meets this year
AT a time when the Malaysian Athletic Union (MAU) is consumed by drug scandals and politicking, it has fallen to third parties to ensure development is not ignored.
Ever since Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim became MAU president in 2006, athletics has been missing from the SportExcel calendar but the sport makes its long-awaited comeback with three legs and a grand finals scheduled for later this year.
The circuit will cater to the Under-16 age group and complement the annual Malaysian Schools Championships (MSSM) where the Under-12, Under-15 and Under-18 categories are contested.
SportExcel executive director C. Sivanandan said a number of obstacles had to be overcome before athletics was included along with taekwondo as the two new sports on the 2012 calendar.
"We worked hard to get athletics back into the programme as we believe the sport is one which we cannot afford to ignore.
"Working in cooperation with the Education Ministry, we are looking at holding three circuits in Kuala Lumpur, Pahang and Sarawak before culminating with the grand finals in Kuala Lumpur.
"We are looking to keep it simple by holding straight finals and limiting the entries to the Under-16 age group.
"The MSSM meet (in Kangar in May) will form the basis of selecting athletes for the circuit, which we hope to start in the second half of the year," said Sivanandan on Tuesday during SportExcel's celebration of 21 years of development efforts in Bukit Kiara.
Sivanandan added that discussions with MAU will take place soon to tap into the association's technical expertise in organising meets.