SHAH ALAM, June 24 — The Selangor contingent is targeting a haul of 61 gold medals for a top-three finish at the 21st Malaysia Games (Sukma XXI) which will take place in Sarawak from August 17-24, said State Youth, Sports and Entrepreneurship Committee chairman Mohd Najwan Halimi.

He said that despite facing various challenges including financial constraints, he is confident that the target can be achieved while realising the ambition to end the biennial meet in the top three rungs.

“To deal with the challenge, the state has expanded cooperation to local authorities, district offices and agencies under the state government that each adopt certain sports associations as foster teams to help them make the best of preparations.

“We do not want the fund constraint to be a problem and through collaboration with these strategic partners, we are confident that it will not be an obstacle to achieving 61 gold medals,” he said when met after the RM100,000 sponsorship ceremony by Menteri Besar Selangor (Incorporated) to the Selangor Archery Association (Selar) and the Selangor Rugby Union (KRS) respectively.

Mohd Najwan said he will also discuss with the state leadership for an additional allocation of RM2 million to RM3 million to strengthen the Sukma contingent’s preparations after the state’s allocation of RM8 million in March.

He said among the gold prospect events are rugby, archery, aquatics, athletics, women’s football, shooting, takraw and silat. At Sukma 2022, the Selangor contingent finished in fifth place, with a total of 130 medals, including 31 gold, 55 silver and 44 bronze.

Meanwhile, the Negeri Sembilan contingent is modestly optimistic about winning more than 20 gold medals at the Sarawak Sukma with its financial strategy of pairing state agencies or business companies with sports associations.

Head of the contingent Mustapha Nagoor said in Seremban today nearly 500 athletes are scheduled to participate in 30 events at the biennial games and among the medal prospects are in cycling, boxing, athletics, shooting and football.

“I am satisfied with preparations of each sport as they take part in pre-Sukma competitions to gauge their abilities. Our gold medal target takes into account that 30 per cent of our participants are national athletes representing the state.

“The training camp for our athletes is on August 2-3 to ensure the athletes’ fitness and mental preparation are good,” he said after the appointment ceremony of ‘patrons’ for the Negeri Sembilan Sukma contingent and the presentation of funds to state sports associations here today.

Mustapha, who is also State Youth and Sports Development Committee chairman, said his team is also working with several agencies or companies to select sports in the state to assist the associations financially.

“This ‘1 company-1 sport’ approach can also help sponsor associations to also train more back-up athletes. I have met 10 companies and discussed the importance of involvement in sports for the state,” he said. — Bernama