KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Weightlifting Federation (MWF) will set up a backup squad come next January in preparation for the 2026 Commonwealth Games.
MWF vice-president Amirul Hamizan Ibrahim said an agreement has been made with the National Sports Council (NSC) regarding the matter, with the backup squad set to comprise athletes who shine in national-level competitions, in addition to winning gold and silver medals at the Malaysia Games (Sukma).
"Seven lifters and a coach will be placed in the backup squad. Most of the backup lifters will be between 14 and 21 years-old. So far, we have identified two women and five men.
"We are also in the process of identifying a suitable coach and it will be referred to our president for discussion regarding the plans and programmes that can be provided for the backup squad," he said when met after the sports working committing meeting at the NSC here today (November 27).
Amirul Hamizan said the number of lifters in the backup squad would, at the same time, be expanded for the 2025 Sea Games in Thailand.
"Our target is the 2026 Commonwealth Games so that we will not be depending on the existing three seniors. We will ensure we have other backups, in addition to hunting for more gold medals.
"From January 1, they will be called up, tested and, if there are no problems, they will remain until the 2026 Commonwealth Games," he said.
According to Amirul Hamizan, all the lifters will be based at the NSC, who will bear the cost of all their allowances, as well as injury treatments.
The 2026 Commonwealth Games were supposed to be held in Victoria, Australia but the city withdrew citing a projected budget blowout. — BERNAMA