BETTER CHANCES: Many Olympic-bound athletes from other nations not competing
WITH the Olympics just around the corner, the best chance for Malaysian University athletes to snatch unexpected honours is on the cards at a number of World University Championship (WUC) tournaments in the coming week.
Over 40 athletes from various universities from across the country will head to the Rugby WUC in Brive, France and Archery WUC in Cordoba, Spain, Golf WUC in Liberec, Czech Republic -- all this weekend -- and Karate WUC in Bratislava, Slovakia on July 12-15.
Higher Education Ministry Sports Division spokesman Nur Ekmal Bukhary said despite no specific target being set for the athletes, the ministry is expecting the athletes to challenge for medals in archery and karate.
"We expect a number of Olympic-bound athletes from other nations to not be competing at the championships as they will be concentrating on their final preparations for the London Games," said Nur Ekmal.
"Our own archer, Cheng Chu Sian, will not be competing for the same reasons, which is why we expect our chances of snatching a medal to be slightly brighter this time, especially in archery and karate.
"We have not set any targets for the athletes, but have stressed to them that they should do their best to push for medals and also look to break their own personal records or, if possible, national records."
Nur Ekmal added that providing the athletes a steady dose of international exposure was the main purpose of sending them to the various championships.
"As seen during the World University Games (WUG) last year, the level of competition and depth of quality at the various championships (WUC) is also at a very high level.
"Many of our athletes are still at a very young age, either in their late teens or early twenties, and giving them the chance to compete against top-level opponents on the big stage will help them develop better."
WUC tournaments in various sports are held during each year in which the biennial WUG is not held to help give university athletes around the world the chance to continuously compete against their pers.
Last year Malaysia won one silver and two bronze medals, all from diving, at the Shenzhen, China WUG.