Syed Saddiq: Ministry, National Sports Council always defend athletes’ right to compete

Malaysia's gymnasts celebrate winning the gold medal in Team Rhythmic Gymnastics during the Kuala Lumpur 2017 SEA Games. — Bernama file pic
Malaysia's gymnasts celebrate winning the gold medal in Team Rhythmic Gymnastics during the Kuala Lumpur 2017 SEA Games. — Bernama file pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 5 — The Ministry of Youth and Sports and the National Sports Council (NSC) have always maintained the right of every athlete to select a specific sport to represent the country.

Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman stressed that the ministry and NSC were more focused on athletes’ contribution to the country than linking them to other matters that could affect the  sports.

“Sports should be a tool for unifying the whole of Malaysia and at the same time we want to make sure that the sport is truly inclusive. For example, for those who choose to wear hijab, they must be defended and given a place and likewise.

“My stance is to defend our athletes, we want to make sure that no matter what their background or choices, the Ministry and NSC will remain ‘home’ to them.

He said this when asked to comment on the issue of women’s gymnastics and rhythmic gymnastics attire raised by Terengganu Youth, Sports and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO) chairman Wan Sukairi Wan Abdullah and his decision to withdraw from any sports related to gymnastics.

That concern has put the future of female athletes who could potentially bring glory to the country in sports at risk.

Yesterday, National Sports Council director-general Datuk Ahmad Shapawi Ismail said in a statement that the definition of ‘excite’ has never existed in gymnastics and rhythmic gymnastics and should not be the basis of sports development policy. — Bernama

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