Syed Saddiq: If Terengganu bans female gymnastics, ministry will take over state chapter of NSC

Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman speaks during a press conference in Kuala Lumpur November 9, 2019. — Picture by Firdaus Latif
Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman speaks during a press conference in Kuala Lumpur November 9, 2019. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 9 — Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman today said that the ministry will take over the Terengganu chapter of the National Sports Council (NSC), if a news report claiming that the state has banned female gymnastics, is proven to be true.

Taking to Twitter today, the Muar MP said he would not tolerate such action against athletes.

“If true, KBS will take over control of MSN Terengganu & absorb their young aspiring athletes who are discriminated.

“I personally will meet up with the athletes affected to ensure that their future in gymnastics will not be compromised,” he tweeted.

Syed Saddiq later lamented to the media that the Terengganu government’s stand on the matter is confusing.

“They told me that they’ll allow for the gymnasts to participate in Sukma. That they will be taken care.

“But at the same time, insisting something else when asked by the media. Uncertainty kills talents,” Syed Saddiq told reporters via his ministry’s WhatsApp channel.

Sukma refers to Sukan Malaysia, which is a biannual national multi-sport event.

Channel News Asia (CNA) had earlier today, reported that the Terengganu state government led by Islamist party PAS, had issued a sports guideline, which includes withdrawing women from competing in all forms of gymnastics, as such athletes “display indecent movements” that would expose their bodies.

The report said that Terengganu is also drafting a purported shariah-compliant code of conduct for its athletes.

CNA reported that the Terengganu Gymnastics Association, which spots potential gymnast and trains athletes from schools in the state, will be scaling back on recruiting promising female athletes in the near future, in complying with the guideline from the state government.

The report said that though Terengganu sent its largest female gymnastics contingent in 2018 for the Sukma Games, it would not be sending any female gymnasts for the July 2020 edition.

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