AUSTRALIA and New Zealand have booked RM5 million worth of tickets for the
Kuala Lumpur Commonwealth Games on Sept 11-21, next year but the Games may
be robbed of several illustrious names if the haze persists.
Sukom Ninety Eight Berhad chief operating officer Lt Gen (rtd) Datuk
Seri Abdul Manap Ibrahim said in Kuala Lumpur yesterday several top
athletes including Australian marathon runner Steve Moneghetti had
threatened to stay away if the problem prevailed.
"I have been told many top athletes have indicated they would not take
part in the Games if the haze is still around next September," said Manap.
Moneghetti, who finished third in the World Championships in Athens
recently, was reported to have said he would not be competing in the Games
if the haze engulfing the country continues.
Joining the chorus from Melbourne was Australian Commonwealth Games
chief Ray Godkin, who expressed fears that long distance runners and
cyclists would not survive in such conditions.
Godkin, who was in KL for the Commonwealth Games Federation assembly
last month, was quoted by the Melbourne-based Herald Sun as saying: "You
couldn't run a marathon in this ... the runners would just fall over and
die. It's impossible, I would not put people's lives at stake."
Manap also said that if the condition is bad, Sukom might have to do
away with some of the outdoor sports.
"The pollution may not be entirely caused by Indonesian forest fires and
Malaysians must also help minimise it by curtailing unnecessary burning,"
Manap was speaking at a licensee signing ceremony with Inki-Plas at the
Putra World Trade Centre.
On the sale of tickets for the Games, Manap said that the tickets can be
ordered through telephone and mail but will only be on sale a few months
before the Games begin to combat counterfeit tickets.