KUALA LUMPUR: All athletes listed under the Podium Programme (PP) will be required to undergo screening for smokers, a new criteria included in the contract from next year (2018).
National Sports Institute (ISN) chairman Datuk Seri Azim Mohd Zabidi said the screening for smokers was one of the criteria for selecting athletes with the aim to produce athletes who are consistent and sustainable.
“They (athletes) must quit smoking We have devices to trace the smokers. Those found smoking must stop or leave the Podium Programme,” he said after the announcement of athletes under the PP from January 2018 at Dewan Perdana ISN, here on Thursday.
Meanwhile, PP director Tim Newenham said the athletes would be given six months notice to quit smoking if they choose to remain in the programme.
“The ISN will assist the athletes who plan to quit smoking. We have given them notice of this six months ago. If you are smoking, please stop. If not, the athletes can choose to leave.
“They have to decide weather to give up smoking or the Podium Programme. They cannot choose both, they can quit smoking and become a professional athlete.”
The High Performance Command and Control Committee (HPCCC) chaired by Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin endorsed 39 new athletes, bringing the total to 146 athletes, with hockey as the new sport and the return of shooting.
This is the third time PP reviewed the selection of athletes since it was launched in February 2016 with a total of 97 athletes across 21 sports.
Since then, the number of PP athletes has risen to 120 athletes.
Among the new faces are Muhammad Hakimi Ismail (triple jump), Muhammad Irfan Shamsuddin (discus), Muhamad Zarif Syahiir Zolkepeli (archery-recurve), Izzah Amzan (rhythmic gymnastic), Muhammad Faizul M. Nasir, Mohd Taqiyuddin Hamid, Rosli Mohd Shari and Muhammad Robial Sobri (pencak silat), Johnathan Wong (shooting), Natasha Roslan and Ahmad Muaz Mohd Fishol (tenpin bowling), Auni Fatihah Khamis (lawn bowls) and Yeap Wai Kin (wushu).
Twelve shuttlers including the new men’s doubles, and seven track cyclists led by world champion Mohd Azizulhasni Awang are still in PP.
Thirteen athletes were dropped including diver Wendy Ng Yan Yee who was involved in doping while weightlifter Mohamad Hafifi Mansor was suspended.
Archery-compound was not selected because the event is not contested in the Commonwealth, Asian and Olympic Games.
Seven athletes dropped include Hasihin Sanawi (archery), Mohamad Faizal Aideal Suhaimi, Amir Firdauss Jamaluddin, Mohamad Raduan Emaeri (athletics), Jamery Siga and Julius Jaranding (swimming) and Sona Anak Agon (powerlifting). - Bernama