KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 20 — Malaysia are expected to send a contingent of about 140 athletes to the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games scheduled to be held from July 28-August 8.

Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) president Tan Sri Mohamad Norza Zakaria said Malaysia had been allocated 92 quota places for the Games, while the rest would be based on qualifications by merit.

“We have also received two additional slots, specifically for our divers Jellson Jabillin and Nur Dhabitah Sabri, while the men’s rugby Sevens and two weightlifters — Muhamad Aznil Bidin (61kg) and Mohamad Aniq Kasdan (55kg) — have already qualified.

“We also hope others will make the cut through their own qualifying programmes, for example sports like table tennis, hockey and beach volleyball,” he told a press conference after the launch of the Malaysian leg of the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games Queen’s Baton Relay, here, today.

Mohamad Norza said the Malaysian contingent this time would have fewer athletes than the average of 170 in the past as the host had reduced the number of events contested, including omitting sports like shooting and archery.

He said more details on the Games, especially on the Covid-19 guidelines and protocols, are expected to be shared after the first chef-de-mission (CDM) meeting to be held virtually from January 24-27. The Malaysian delegation will be headed by CDM Datuk Shahrul Zaman Yahya.

Meanwhile, British Deputy High Commissioner to Malaysia David Thomas said the organisers would ensure the safety and wellbeing of all participants in Birmingham 2022 amid concerns over Covid-19.

“(We) Want to reassure the safety of everyone, including the athletes, officials, visitors and volunteers is the organisers’ number one priority. We will ensure all face-to-face interactions are Covid secure.

“A team of specialists will constantly monitor the situations in regards to the pandemic,” he said, adding that the baton relay will be hosted in 72 Commonwealth countries and territories across the world in 294 days.

The baton, which will travel 140,000 kilometres, began its journey in London on October 7 and has already been to countries like Malta, Nigeria, South Africa, India and Singapore before arriving in Malaysia through the national courier, Pos Malaysia.

After visiting several places in Malaysia until January 24, the baton will continue its journey to Brunei. — Bernama