Sunday, February 4, 2007

Budget for opening and closing reduced to RM20m


THE opening and closing ceremonies of the Kuala Lumpur Commonwealth Games,
earlier estimated to cost RM40 million but reduced to RM25 million, have
now been further reduced to RM20.5 million.
Sports Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who chaired the Commonwealth
Games Executive Committee at the Sports Ministry yesterday, said the
reduction is because of a cut in the training sessions.
"We are not compromising on the quality of the ceremonies but have cut
down on the rehearsals which are quite costly."
"Invitation cards for 4,000 guests for the opening and closing
ceremonies will be distributed later this month. The list will include the
Rulers and all the Yang Dipertua Negeri," said Muhyiddin.
On ticket sales, which are still slow despite the nationwide promotions,
Muhyiddin said Sukom Ninety Eight will now work with the Tourism
Development Cooperation to sell tickets in Singapore.
"Their dollar is still strong so we have decided to tap into the
Singapore market. We will sell tickets, not packages, to promote the Games
with the help of the Singapore Sports Council."
Meanwhile, the Doping Control Centre at Universiti Sains Malaysia in
Penang has received the green light from the International Olympic
Committee and will undergo a trial run during the Pre-Games on July 11-19.
"The Centre has undergone successful IOC tests and we are expected to
get an accreditation letter in the next few days. Random tests will be
conducted on urine samples sent there.
* Muhyiddin said all associations must submit reports on their pre-Games
competition within one week after the events end to enable Games
organisers Sukom to identify weaknesses and take steps to overcome them.
The committee was also briefed on the public transport system which
would be tested from early September to familiarise the public with the
various modes of transport like LRT, buses, taxies and commuter to go to
the National Sports Complex in Bukit Jalil.
* The Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) have submitted the names of 30
athletes for the Queen's baton run from Dataran Merdeka to the Main
Stadium. The final runner would be named later.
* All the 100,000 free tickets to attend the pre-Games have been snapped
* As early preparations, all secretariats under the Executive Committee
would move to the International Zone of the Games Village in Bukit Jalil
to facilitate preparation and co-ordination.

Brunei stop for Queen's Baton


THE Kuala Lumpur Commonwealth Games Queen's Baton relay will end its
international leg in Brunei today, after which will begin the elaborate
local run starting from Sabah and ending at the Bukit Jalil Main Stadium
on Sept 11.
Yesterday, the Singapore leg of the run started at the National Stadium
and ended at the compound of the Brunei High Commission.
Singapore National Olympic Council president Teo Chee Hean started the
run by handing the baton to Tan Howe Liang, a double gold medallist at the
1958 Games.
The international leg, which started when Datuk Punch Gunalan received
the baton from the Queen at the Buckingham Palace in London in March, made
its way to the Caribbean, Africa, Asia and Australia before making its way
to Brunei.
"We have received 30 names from the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM)
for the final leg of the run from Dataran Merdeka to the Main Stadium in
Bukit Jalil," said Sports Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
"The names consist of past and present Commonwealth Games medal winners.
We have yet to sort out the final order of athletes."
Commonwealth Games Federation chairman Michael Fennell, Sukom Ninety
Eight executive chairman Tan Sri Hashim Ali and Muhyiddin will be at hand
to receive the Baton from Brunei in Sabah on Tuesday.
The design for the Baton has been conceptualised from a traditional
Malay artifact, the gobek - a unique cylindrical areca nut-pounder widely
used in the Malay household. The motif for the Baton also incorporates the
Bunga Raya (hibiscus).
The tradition of the Baton started at the 1958 Cardiff Games and carries
the Queen's message which will be read by the president of the
Commonwealth Games Federation Prince Edward during the opening ceremony of
the Kuala Lumpur Games.
Local Run - July 7-16 Sabah; July 17-Aug 7 Sarawak; Aug 8-10 Johor; Aug
11-12 Malacca; Aug 13 Negri Sembilan; Aug 14-17 Selangor; Aug 18-20 Perak;
Aug 21-22 Penang; Aug 23-24 Langkawi; Aug 25-27 Kedah; Aug 28-29 Perak;
Aug 30-Sept1 Kelantan; Sept 2-5 Terengganu; Sept 6-9 Pahang; Sept 10-11
Kuala Lumpur.

No hurry to name squad


THE Malaysian AAU are taking their time in deciding on the squad for the
Asian Track and Field championships in Fukuoka, Japan, on July 19-22.
MAAU have had enough time to select the athletes at the Negri Sembilan
Open, Perak Open and the Johor Open.
But they would rather wait until the pre-Games meet at Bukit Jalil on
July 12-15 before finalising the squad, who will depart for Fukuoka the
following day (July 16).
MAAU president Datuk Khalid Yunus said they are in no hurry. "We will
finalise the squad after the pre-Games. At the moment, we have 19 athletes
who have qualified."
MAAU and the National Sports Council, who have the final say, had agreed
to send 11 men and three women.
The 11 men are sprinters Watson, Hamberi Mahat, R. Ganeshwaran, middle
distance runners R. Nandakumar and S. Vasu, long distance expert M.
Ramachandran, high jumper Loo Kum Zee, walkers Narinder Singh and Teoh
Boon Lim, decathlete Malik Tobias and pole vaulter Teh Weng Chang. The
three women are walkers Yuan Yu Fang and Annastasia Karen Raj and sprinter
G. Shanti.

Ready to roll


THE Bukit Jalil Main Stadium occupies the central and most prominent
position in the National Sports Complex and is designed to harmonise the
best of national and international architecture. The complex occupies 80
hectares and is located 8km from the city.
The significant feature of the 100,000-capacity stadium is its advanced
cable-tensioned membrane roof.
With its steel compression rings, cables, arches and membranes held
together in a unique manner, the roof covers an area approximately 38,000
square metres - making it the biggest of its kind in the world.
The membrane roof comes with a 20-year guarantee and is free from any
need of additional support in the middle.
The principal technical characteristic of the Stadium is the overlapping
of the three spectator tiers. All functional and secondary areas are
accommodated on two levels below the main concourse. The design
incorporates a roof over the entire spectator seating areas.
The concourse level is the only distribution level, thus allowing easier
orientation. VIP areas are located adjacent to the main lobby.
The seating arrangements in the main stadium include 850 seats for
members of the Press and 200 wheelchair spaces.
The Stadium's design has been wind-tunnel tested at a maximum speed of
32kmh and has also been tested for a 12-minute evacuation time from the
farthest point inside the stadium.
* PLAYING field - 68m x 105m with natural grass.
* NINE lane, 400m tartan track with pit for steeplechase.
* A 10-lane 100m track.
* SCOREBOARD (full-colour video matrix type).
* LIGHTING system for good television broadcast.
* MARATHON and service gates.
* WATER jump hurdle.
Adjacent to the Main Stadium are two warm-up centres:
* NATIONAL Sports Council track and jump centre (eight-lane synthetic
* NATIONAL Sports Council throwing centre.
* THESE centres are located to the southeast of the Main Stadium where
entry to the hold-up area is via a tunnel.
* NATIONAL Sports Council track and jump centre (eight-lane synthetic
* NATIONAL Sports Council throwing centre.
* MAYBANK sports complex.

All set for the grand opening


IT was chaotic outside the Bukit Jalil Sports Complex amid the strong
smell of wet paint with workers frantically trying to get the main stadium
ready for the official opening tonight.
But that was only on the surface.
The launch of the RM1.2 billion complex by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr
Mahathir Mohamad tonight has been meticulously planned and rehearsed.
"The 100,000 free tickets have been distributed and the owners of the
Light Rail Transit have agreed to offer free rides to all who want to
catch the historic moment," said event promoter Dr Kay Mohamed in Kuala
Lumpur yesterday.
"Right now our fear is an overwhelming response and those without
tickets turning up at the Stadium."
At the moment, there are no big screens outside the main stadium, so
those who make the trip without tickets will be left with nothing to
However, the Pre-Games carnival begins as early as 10am with various
activities lined up within the vicinity of the Bukit Jalil Sports Complex.
The events will be on throughout the day until the main event begins at
No tickets are needed for the carnival.
During the Opening Ceremony, Dr Mahathir will officially name the main
stadium and the rest of the facilities around the complex.
Before the opening, Dr Mahathir will inaugurate the LRT service from the
Bukit Jalil Station to downtown Kuala Lumpur, and launch 400 Petronas
taxis which will be used during the Games proper on Sept 11-21.
Bowler Shalin Zulkifli will have the honour of handing over the torch to
the Prime Minister who will then light the cauldron to mark the opening of
the complex.
Some of the top local entertainers such as M. Nasir, Ziana Zain and Erra
Fazira will be performing.
Also on stage will be Indian singer Sudesh Boshle.
* PERUSAHAAN Otomobil Elektrik Malaysia (POEM), Malaysia's electric car
manufacturer, will hand over 50 cars called the Elektriksuria to Games
organisers Sukom at the opening today.

Weather bests the Aquatic Stadium


THE Pre-Commonwealth Games at the National Sports Complex in Bukit Jalil
is a litmus test for organisers Sukom Ninety Eight Berhad, the Sports
Ministry, athletes, facilities, officials and volunteers.
Yesterday, during a one-hour downpour, the facilities took a beating
with the National Aquatic Stadium the worst hit.
First, a shower of dust blew in from the construction site facing the
Then, drops of rain fell on those sitting at the grandstand due to leaks
in the membrane roof.
The membrane roof, covering the entire diving and swimming area as well
as other parts of the complex, comes with a 20-year warranty. It is in
dire need of a thorough check-up to spare Sukom embarrassment during the
Games proper.
The officials responsible for parking also need to brush up on their
duties. The parking lots around the complex were almost empty because the
public chose to drive right up to the entrance of the stadia.
The volunteers are another story.
"We don't have a clue of what is happening. First, we were told meals
will be provided, then we were were told that an allowance to cover our
meals will be handed daily," said a volunteer.
"But after being kept waiting for three hours on Saturday, we were told
to use our own resources while compensation will be sent by post later."
The volunteers, who were more dazed than first-time visitors to the
complex, have also been told to make do with one T-shirt for the entire

Ai Lian, Thubashini confirmed


MALAYSIAN women's golf champion Lim Ai Lian and runnerup Sri Lanka's
Thubashini Selvaratnam have confirmed participation for the 7th Epson
Saujana Women's Amateur Open at the Saujana Golf Club (SGCC) on Aug 8-10.
The duo will lead an international field of golfers from the
Philippines, Singapore, China, India and Thailand for the premier women's
Epson Trading, who will be sponsoring the event into its 7th year,
presented a cheque for RM35,000 to SGCC.
"I am confident that this year's Open will attract as much interest as
the past years. Last year we had about 100 golfers and right now the
entries stand at 50. But with two weeks to go, I am confident we will
reach a similar number of golfers," said Epson managing director Miho
Epson will also give away one unit of their EMP-3500 Multimedia
Projector worth RM23,000 for the hole-in-one during the Open.
"The standard of play has been on an upward trend, in fact it is amazing
to watch some of the distances achieved by the women which is a testament
of their fitness and commitment to the sport," said Tanaka.
Last year, Ai Lian won by the skin of her teeth when she carded a final
round of nine-over 81 on a three-day total of 230.
Thuhashini returned a final round of 78 but finished second at one
stroke behind.
Jaruwan Gulyanamitta from Thailand on a total of 234 and Australian
Heather Cummingson on 241 finished third and fourth respectively but they
have yet to confirm their entries.

Milo Cup now on zonal format


THE Under-18 Milo Cup will be held from July 24-Oct 10 at various venues
around the country on a zonal basis, unlike the previous carnival format.
"We decided on the Zonal format because the earlier carnival approach
was too hectic. Right now the teams will have more time to play soccer,"
said Syed Ahmad Kuning, FA of Malaysia's (FAM) Director of Youth and
The Milo Cup will be entering its 12th year of competition, and
according to Ahmad, it has produced numerous national players.
"This is a good base for selecting backup players for the national team
and it has proven its worth in the past. We will have selection officials
at all venues," said Syed Ahmad.
Fifteen teams will take part in the tournament with the Bukit Jalil
Sports School (BJSS) making its debut.
Last year the tournament was held at the Police Depot grounds and Kuala
Lumpur emerged champions when they beat Selangor 2-1.
Kelantan and Terenggana will kick off the tournament on July 24 at the
Ketereh Municipal Council field and the tournament will be played on a
home-and-away basis right up till the final.
The champions will receive RM20,000 and runners-up RM10,000.
There will be no third place playoff.
Zone A: Kedah, Perak, Penang, Perlis; Zone B: Selangor, Kuala Lumpur,
Sarawak, Sabah;
Zone C: Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang; Zone D: Negri Sembilan, Malacca,
Johor, Bukit Jalil Sports School.

Lifters polish their skills in Moscow


THE national weightlifters received a much needed lift when they were
given the green light by the National Sports Council (NSC) to under go a
one-month training stint in Moscow.
The team left last week with a "new hope" who is capable of winning a
medal in the 56kg category at the September Games.
Abdul Rahman Ahmad, always in the shadows of 1994 Victoria Games silver
medallist Matin Guntali, hit the headlines when he rewrote the national
record twice at the Malaysian Open last month.
Rahman first set a national mark of 107.5kg in snatch. The old mark of
102.5kg was set by Terengganu's Roswadi Rashid.
That new mark also equalled India's Thandava Muthu's Commonwealth
Championship record.
Matin then lifted 237.5kg to smash the old national record of 227.5kg
set by Roswadi.
And in the clean and jerk event, he lifted 130.0kg to equal Roswadi's
national record.
Matin has not been impressive the past year while 24-year-old Rahman,
from Pahang, also equalled the Commonwealth Championships record in the
56kg category.
His achievements were all the more remarkable considering he had to
battle a shoulder injury for the past nine months that forced him out of
March's Commonwealth Championship in Nauru.
"We took into consideration that the weightlifters are medal prospects
for the Comonwealth Games and also because they were geting a little
restless training at the same venue every day of the year," said NSC
director general Datuk Mazlan Ahmad.
Team manager Abu Hanapiah Ismail and coaches Slava Lelikov and Willian
Yeo accompanied the lifters.
"Initially the plan was to send the weightlifters to train in Turkey with
a club run by Naim Suleymanoglu. Since we did not receive any response
from them, we decided on Russia."
The choice of Russia was also because the weightlifters have been
following a Russian programme the past three years.
Twenty-seven countries have confirmed participation in the Commonwealth
In Victoria in 1994, only 19 countries and 91 weightlifters took part.
Squad: Abdul Rahman Ahmad, Matin Guntali (56kg); Kamaruzaman Jusan
(62kg); Hidayat Hamidon, Rosdi Ngah (69kg); Rosliman Haron (77kg); Edmund
Yeo (85kg); Che Mohamed Azrol (105kg).

Only minor glitches remain


SPORTS Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin yesterday declared that all is
well after chairing the Commonwealth Games council meeting.
He added that only minor glitches need to be ironed out.
"Traffic control during the opening of the National Sports Complex on
July 11 was discussed at length because we discovered that this area needs
immediate attention," said Muhyiddin.
Traffic management, under Senior Assistant Commissioner (II) Dell Akbar
Khan, received plenty of flak from the public. Initial feedback showed
that many ticket holders were given the runaround during the opening of
the complex by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
Most got tired of being pushed around by strict traffic management and
went home instead. The National Stadium, with a capacity of 100,000,
admitted about 70,000 people on July 11.
Dell had said that only vehicles with special stickers were allowed to
park at the complex's parking bay, but the rule was broken and many VIPs
with special stickers had to fight their way in and arrived late.
"We also discussed other shortcomings during the pre-Games and I am
happy that most of the problems have been rectified. We received good
feedback from the public and their main grouse was that there were not
enough signboards around the complex.
Guest passes for the opening and closing ceremonies have been increased
from 4,000 to 5,000.
"We have sent invitations to the guests of the government and hope they
will come early and take their places as scheduled so that the ceremonies
will not be delayed."
Muhyiddin, who presented a progress report to Dr Mahathir in the
morning, said: "The Prime Minister was briefed on the feedback received
from the pre-Games and has urged the Games Council to rectify some of the
"Towards this, the council will now meet once a week and present their
problems, if any, so that they can be solved," said Muhyiddin.
On the bickering for places in the national teams, Muhyiddin said he
will leave it to the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) and the various
associations to select athletes based on the criteria that had been
"OCM and associations have the final say," said Muhyiddin.

No ACT-tion


QUESTION: Why was the Sports Act introduced this year?
ANSWER: To mediate in disputes between sports associations and their
affiliates or players.
The current tiff between the BA of Malaysia and professional stable Nusa
Mahsuri over Commonwealth Games selection might seem to be a reason for an
Actually no, because Nusa Mahsuri are not affiliated to the Selangor BA
nor are they affiliated to BAM.
In fact, BAM should not have responded to the Nusa grumblings in the
first place because they have no business in making demands to BAM.
On that score, there is no question of the Act being enforced to end the
bickering between the two parties.
Sports Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin must have realised this when he
said yesterday that he would rather use mediators than the Sports Act to
end the BAM-Nusa Mahsuri standoff.
"The Sports Act is not suitable at this juncture. It would be improper
if the Sports Commissioner Datuk Ahmad Bakri Shabdin were to step in and
solve issues among athletes and associations," said Muhyiddin after
chairing a Commonwealth Games venue managers' meeting at Bukit Jalil
"I would prefer that the athletes are selected based on merit so that
our chances of winning medals during the Commonwealth Games would be
Badminton, swimming, gymnastics and athletics have had their fair share
of controversies in the selection of athletes for the Games.
Bakri was used as a mediator to solve the issue of Farah Zelina Kamal
being dropped from the national gymnastics squad because she failed to
meet the qualifying mark.
Farah was reinstated after Bakri met representatives of the Malaysian
Gymnastics Federation.
The dispute between BAM and Nusa is over petty issues like training
Nusa players Roslim Hashim, Rashid Sidek and Ismail Saman also want to
make the national squad without attending trials.
"The right thing to do now is to have a mediator solve the problem
between BAM and Nusa Mahsuri. I have personally told National Sports
Council (NSC) director general Datuk Mazlan Ahmad to have a meeting with
both parties and solve the problem amicably," said Muhyiddin.
Mazlan was not willing to comment of the course of action except to say:
"Let's wait and see. I have to meet both parties first."

Six sports to submit names


ONLY six associations have yet to submit their list of athletes for the
Kuala Lumpur Commonwealth Games to the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM).
Hockey (men and women), cycling, cricket and lawn bowls have until July
28 to do so.
"OCM have received entries from 10 associations so far," said OCM
secretary Sieh Kok Chi yesterday.
"We will have a meeting on Tuesday to further trim the list submitted by
the associations. Only those who meet the qualifying mark will see action
during the Games."
OCM's closing date may be July 28 but entries will still be entertained
by Games organisors Sukom Ninety Eight up till Aug 8 when the
international entries close.
Bowling, who can only enter two men and two women, have submitted a list
of four and four and they are Kenny Ang, Ben Heng, Daniel Lim, Ng Yiew
Hup, Shalin Zulkifli, Lai Kin Ngoh, Sharon Low and Low Poh Lian.
"Team sports like rugby and netball have yet to name the final squad for
the games but have submitted their entries. It is a normal procedure for
the associations know more or less who will make the team."
Shooting, with an outside chance of winning gold in the Games, has
included the name of the Russian coach turned shooter for Malaysia.
The coach Irina Maharani, who is now a Malaysian citizen, was the gold
medallist in the 1994 World Championship in air pistol. For the Games, she
is down to part in the sport pistol event for the Games.
Athletics have already submitted the names of 25 athletes and they are
expected to send in another five.
Athletics officials will number 17.
"We will also look into the number of officials to accompany athletes,"
said Sieh..
Right now it looks like some associations have submitted a large number
of officials, this will have to be trimmed."
BOWLING - Men: Kenny Ang, Ben Heng, Daniel Lim, Ng Yiew Hup; Women:
Shalin Zulkifli, Lai Kin Ngoh, Sharon Low and Low Poh Lian.
SHOOTING (men) - Skeet: Goh Kek Chuan, Ricky Teh; Trap: Leong Wei Heng,
Charles Chen; Full bore: Zulkefle Hassan, Zainal Abidin, Rajeli Asteri;
Air pistol: Mohamed Hashim, Marzuki Man, Ali Noor Raziff; Free pistol:
Mohamed Hashim, Arzuki Man; Centre fire pistol: Mohamed Hashim, Che Wan
Zulqarnaen, David Hor; Air rifle: Abdul Mutalib, Mohamed Emran, Villow
Free rifle prone: Jasni Shaari, Mohamed Eran, Mohamed Sabiki; Free rifle
three position: Jasni Shaari, Mohamed Emran, Mohamed Sabiki; Rapid fire
pistol: Hazli Izwan Amir, Che Wan Zulqarnaen, David Hor.
Women - Air pistol: Suriani Othman, Norsita Mahmud, Kamsiah Jalal; Sport
pistol: Norsita Mohamed, Bibiana Ng, Irina Maharani; Air rifle: Roslina
Bakar, Nurul Huda Baharin, Noriha Rani; Sport rifle prone: Sarihati Awang,
Nordalilah Abu Bakar, Nurul Huda Baharin; Sport rifle three position:
Nurul Huda Baharin, Roslin Abakar, Sarihati Awang.
SQUASH - Men: Kenneth Low, Ong Beng Hee, Yap Kok Four, michael soo, lee
weng onn; Women: Nicol David, Leong Siu Lynn, Sandra Wu, Sharon Wee, Kuan
Choy Lynn.
WEIGHTLIFTING - Abdul Rahman Ahmad, Matin Guntali (56kg); Kamaruzaman
Jusan (62kg); Hidayat Hamidon, Rosdi Ngah (69kg); Rosliman Haron (77kg);
Edmund Yeo (85kg).

MAAU go for 44, warts and all


THE Malaysian Amateur Athletics Union (MAAU) yesterday listed 44 athletes
for the Kuala Lumpur Commonwealth Games - of which 23 qualified on merit.
The list will be submitted to the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) for
approval on Wednesday.
"Although 21 did not make the cut, we selected a large squad because we
want to prepare our athletes for the Asian Games in December and the 1999
Brunei Sea Games," said MAAU president Datuk Khalid Yunus.
Khalid may be looking at the future when he approved the list but one
wonders whether he had thought about the implications of his `vision'.
The Jaya '98 athletes have been training for four years with the
intention of making the Games' list.
By selecting almost everybody who has been attending training, Khalid
has set a negative precedent.
Athletes now will be telling themselves: "Why bother to excel when we
will be selected anyway?"
The athletes were given ample opportunities to qualify for the Games -
at the Selangor Open, Perak Open, Johor Open and every other Open that
came their way - and some could not even produce their best.
By including athletes who will most probably be lapped repeatedly in
long distance races by a world class field, MAAU will be exposing
themselves to ridicule.
Khalid is vice-president of the OCM and chef-de-mission of the Malaysian
contingent to the KL Games. He will also be on the selection committee who
will decide the fate of these athletes.
"Of course, I'll be on the OCM selection committee. This is not a
precedent ... I have been doing this for a long time," said Khalid.
The athletes will undergo centralised training from Aug 1 at the
National Stadium until the Games begin on Sept 11. MAAU LIST
QUALIFIED - Men: Watson Nyambek (100m), M. Shanmugan (3,000m s'chase),
Loo Kum Zee (high jump), Zaki Sadri (long jump), Yazid Imran (javelin),
Narinder Singh (20km walk), G. Saravanan (50km walk), A. Munusamy
(1,500m); Hamberi Mahat, R. Ganeshwaran, Nazmizan Mohamed, Tan Kok Lin,
Azmi Ibrahim (4x100m).
Women: G. Shanti (100, 200m), Hii Siew Ngiik (100m hurdles), Yuan Yu
Fang, Annastasia Karen Raj, Cheng Tong Lean (10km walk); N. Manimagalay,
K. Soloseeni, S. Rathimalar, P. Kuganeswari, Carol Lucia Alfred (4x400m).
DID NOT QUALIFY - Men: M. Ramachandran (5,000, 10,000m), Nur Herman
Majid (110m hurdles), Chai Song Lip (long jump), Teoh Boon Lim, Shahrul
Haizy Abdul Rahman (20km walk), B. Thirukumaran, K. Pusparajan (50km
walk), Malek Tobias (decathlon), Romzi Bakar, D. Nadarajan, S. Vasu, R.
Nandakumar, Yazid Parlan, Saiful Zainal (4x400M), Petira Ghani, Nazar
Rahim (shot put), Wong Tee Kui (hammer).
Women: Nik Noor Azura (100, 200m), Moh Siew Wai (100m hurdles),
Norsheela Khalid (400m hurdles), V. Vasuki (heptathlon).

Complete entry list by Aug 11


SUKOM Ninety Eight Berhad will have the complete list of competitors
taking part in the Kuala Lumpur Commonwealth Games by Aug 11.
"We had set Aug 8 as the closing date but there has been a number of
requests from several Commonwealth Games Associations for an extension of
the deadline," said Sukom assistant accreditation manager Albert Jacob.
Sukom have distributed about 30,000 accreditation forms to Commonwealth
countries, including hosts Malaysia. The forms for accreditation include
Royalty guests, VIPs, observers, competitors and officials and the print
and electronic media.
"Sukom will distribute passes to the contingents at the Kuala Lumpur
International Airport in Sepang on their arrival," said Jacob.
"To accommodate last-minute applications, we will provide five digital
cameras and remote processing centres which will be operational from Aug
"The centres will be at KLIA, Main Press Centre at Mint Hotel, the VIP
hotel at the Palace of Golden Horses, Langkawi and Stadium Negara."
With the exception of Solomon Islands, the other 68 Commonwealth
countries have pledged to send athletes for the Games.
Kiribati, a nation comprising 33 islands scattered in the Pacific Ocean,
are not members of Commonwealth Games Federation but have indicated their
interest in taking part.

Ai Lian tipped for another Open


DEFENDING champion Lim Ai Lian will lead a field of 120 golfers for the
Malaysian Women's Amateur Open championship at the Awana Golf and Country
Resort course on Aug 4-6.
Last year, despite carding a six-over 78 in the final round, Ai Lian won
the Open with a three-day total of 222 at the Bangi Golf Resort.
Ai Lian sank birdies on the fifth, eighth and ninth holes but she
double-bogeyed the second and seventh and earned a series of bogeys on the
sixth, 10th, 11th, 14th and 18th in the final round.
"This year's tournament will be divided into three categories - Division
One (handicap nine and below), Division Two (handicap 10-17) and Division
Three (handicap 18-20)," said tournament director Badariah Mimbar.
"To date, we have received entries from six foreign countries."
India will be sending 13 golfers, including regulars Vandana Agarwal,
Nonita Lal and Urvashi Sethi.
Some of the notable names are T. Selvaratnam from Sri Lanka and Emma
Poh, Michelle Yeo and Elaine Tan from Singapore.
Taiwan have submitted 12 entries while the Philippines and Hong Kong
will send 10 golfers.
From Malaysia, the regulars are national players Koe Lai Yin and 17-
year-old Lau Sook Ping.
"Although Awana is a resort course, preparations are underway to make it
a challenging course with difficult pin placements. Two hole-in-one prizes
await the lucky golfers," said Badariah.
Last year, Indonesia's Titi Puryanti shot two-over 74 to finish second.
Titi, if not for the par-four 13th hole where she had a eight, could
have given Ai Lian some anxious moments.
Sri Lanka's Selvaratnam posted a 78 to finish third with a three-day
total of 226 while Lai Yin had the day's lowest score of 72 to finish
sixth with a total of 232.

I cannot do a thing if they won't listen


SPORTS Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin distanced himself from the
dispute between Nusa Mahsuri and the BA of Malaysia (BAM).
"What can I do if BAM and Nusa Mahsuri do not listen to the (Sports)
Ministry anymore?" said Muhyiddin after chairing the weekly Games Council
meeting at the National Stadium yesterday.
"We tried using National Sports Council (NSC) director-general Datuk
Mazlan Ahmad to settle the dispute but it has been to no avail."
Muhyiddin was also surprised with the strong stand taken by BAM
president Datuk Dr Fadzil Che Wan.
The BAM stand now is that they will no longer deal with individuals or
clubs but through their affiliates.
"Mazlan met BAM general-secretary Datuk Mohamad Al-Amin Majid and I was
told that everything was heading towards a compromise.
"The same happened when Mazlan met Nusa Mahsuri. That is why I am
surprised with the (strong) stand taken by Fadzil."
Muhyiddin said that when BAM needed the services of Roslin for the
Thomas Cup earlier this year, they dealt with Nusa Mahsuri, and not with
his State BA.
"There seems to be too many hands meddling in BAM affairs. Things got
out of hand because everybody wants to champion their cause."

Athletics squad trimmed


THE Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) '98 Games Selection Committee met
yesterday and the only surprise was when they trimmed down the athletics
squad from 44 to 34.
The Malaysia AAU (MAAU) had included the names of 23 athletes who did
not meet the qualifying mark by the OCM and 13 of them were dropped.
The OCM commitee decided on the final list for six sports yesterday
while the names for shooting and team sports will be decided today.
"Ten of the selected athletes did not meet the qualifying mark but we
took into consideration their need for exposure in a world class event,"
said OCM secretary Sieh Kok Chi.
ATHLETICS - Men's 100m: Watson Nyambek, Hamberi Mahat, Azmi Ibrahim;
200m: R. ganeswaran, Nazmizam Hohamed, Tan Kok Lim; 400m: Romzi Bakar,
Yazid Parlan, D. nadarajan; 800m: R. Nandakumar, V. Subramaniam; 1,500m:
A. Munusamy; 5,000m: M. ramachandran; 10,000m: Ramachandran; 110m hurdles:
Nur Herman Majid; 3,000m steeplechase: N. Shanmuganathan; High Jump: Loo
Kum Zee; Long Jump: Zaki Sadri, Chai Song Lip; Triple Jump: Zaki, Chai;
Javelin: Yazid Imran; 20km walks: Narinder Singh, Teoh Boon Lim,
Shahrulhaizy Rahman; 50km walks: B. Thirukumaran, G. Saravanan, K.
4x100m: Watson, Hamberi, Ganeswaran, Tan, Azmi; 4x400m: Romzi, Yazid,
Nadarajan, Saiful Zainal, Subramaniam, Nandakumar.
Women's 100m: G. Shanti; 200m: Shanti; 400m: N. Manimagalay, K.
Soloseeni, P. Kuganeswari; 800m: Soloseeni, Manimagalay; 10km walks: Yuan
Yu Fang, Annastasia Karen Raj, Cheng Tong Lean; 4x400m: Shanti,
Manimagalay, Soloseeni, S. Rathimalar, P. Kuganeswari.
WEIGHTLIFTING - 56kg: Matin Guntali, Rahman Ahmad; 62kg: Kamaruzaman
Jusan; 69kg: Mohamed Hidayat, Rosdi Ngah; 77kg: Rozlimand Haron; 85kg:
Edmond Yeo; 105kg: Che Azrol.
GYMNASTICS - rhythmic: Thye Chee Kiat, Carolyn Au, El Regina Tajudin,
Sarina Sundarajah; artistic (men): Loke Yik Siang, Onn Kwang Tung, Heng
Wah Jing, Zulkarnain Majid, Ahmad Akramin; Women: Au Li Yen, Ernadia
Os'hara, Chang Siew Ting, Lim Wai Chi, K. Kavita.
BOXING - 48kg: Sapok Biki; 51kg: Rakib Ahmad; 54kg: Adnan Yusoh; 60kg:
B. Muruguthevan.
SWIMMING - Men: Lim Keng Liat (100m, 200m backstroke; 200m butterfly),
Anthong Ang (100m butterfly), Die Ung (1,500m, 400m, 200m freestyle), Wan
Azlan (200m, 400m im), Allan Ong (100m, 50m freestyle).
Women: Teo Mui Nyee (800, 400, 200 freestyle), Ho Hsu Ee (50m freestyle,
100m butterfly), Sia Wai Yen (200m, 400m IM; 200m butterfly), Chew Lee San
(100m, 200m backstroke), Tay Li Leng (100m, 200m backstroke).
DIVING - 1m springboard: Farah Begum, Ennydia Re; 3m springboard: Farah,
Ennydia; Platform: Wan Nur Sapiah.
SYNCHRONISED SWIMMING: Jacquelyn Chan, Hazrina Sofian, Suzanna Bujang.
CYCLING - 4km team pursuit: Wong Ah Tiam, Haris Fadzillah, Mohamed
Hardi, Faizul Izuan, Lee Robert, Syed Hussaini; Road race: M. Kumaresan,
Tsen Seong Hoong, Nor Effandy Rosli, Mohamed Mahazir, Musairi Musa,
Suhaimi Keton; 200m sprint: Rosman Alwi; 1,000m individual time trial:
Jamil Kadiron; 400m individual point race: Kumaresan.

Farah about-turn


IN a wink, Farah Zellinah Kemal and Celestine Shan have been reinstated to
the rhythmic gymnastics squad for the Commonwealth Games - 24 hours after
been left out of the list by the Olympic Council of Malaysia.
The return of the duo to the squad was made after a Malaysian
Gymnastics Federation official made an appeal to the OCM.
"During the selection meeting on Wednesday, MGF president Dr Zakaria
Ahmad had endorsed only four names," said OCM secretary Sieh Kok Chi.
"Yesterday, I received a call from an MGF member saying that the duo
have not been dropped and will continue training with the national team."
Sieh did not name the official who made the call.
For the Games proper, only four gymnasts, one of whom will be a reserve,
can be on the final list. The closing date for entries with Games
organisers Sukom is Aug 11.
"The door is still open for appeal. If an association feel that their
athlete(s) has been unjustly dropped, they can submit a fresh proposal,"
said Sieh.
Yesterday, OCM approved the list for some team sports and shooting
although their endorsement is not final.
The men's and women's hockey teams have yet to be finalised.
"The Malaysian Tenpin Bowling Confederation (MTBC) have submitted the
names of four men and four women but only two each will be selected for
the Games. The final selection will be done by their coach."
In squash, the only uncertainty is Kuan Choy Lin although she was named
in the squad.
"She will have to pass a fitness test but if her knee still gives her
problem, Daphine Ting will replace her," said Sieh.
The final list for badminton will be released today after the BAM exco
SQUASH - Men: Kenneth Low, Ong Beng Hee, Yap Kok Four, Michael Soo,
Mohamed Azlan; Women: Nicol Ann David, Leong Siul Lynn, Sandra Wu, Sharon
Wee, Kuan Choy Lin or Daphine Ting.
RUGBY: Mohamed Redzuan, Hamid Sauh, Sulaiman Yaakop, Khusaini Ishak,
Farid Rahman, Shah Iran Sahar, Jamil Rahman, Jude Rampangajouw, Badrul
Hisham, Narsidi Mohamed.
CRICKET: Ramesh Menon, David Tallala, Mathew William, Suresh Navaratnam,
K. Ramadass, Chew Pok Cheong, Jeevandran Nair, Rohan Vishnu, Shanker
Retinam, Rohan Selvaratnam, M. Muniandy, Santhara Segaran, Rakesh
Mahadevan, Siswanto Moksun.
TENPIN BOWLING - Men: Kenny Ang, Ben Heng, Y.H. Ng, Daniel Lim; Women:
Shalin Zulkifli, Low Poh Lian.
NETBALL: Siti Afizah Noh, Rohaida Ismail, Rosmani Ismail, Wan Norafazan,
Tang Mee Huong, Wong Mei Yee, Noraidah Ariffin, Puah Pei Ling, Lim Lay
Sim, Kuah Seow Peng, Hanizah Hashim, Seow Li Yoong.
SHOOTING - Men's Air Rifle: Mutalib Razak, Emran Zakaia, Villow Kabah.
Free Rifle Prone: Jasni Shaari, Emran, Sabiki Din.
Free Rifle Three Position: Jasni, Emran, Sabiki.
Air Pistol: Hashim Desa, Marzuki Man, Ali Noor.
Free Pistol: Ali Noor, Hashim, Marzuki.
Centre Fire Pistol: Hashim, Che Wan Zulqarnean, David Hor.
Rapid Fire Pistol: Hasli Amir, Che Wan, David.
Women's Air Pistol: Suriani Othman, Norsita Mohamed, Kamisah Jalal.
Sport Pistol: Norsita, Bibiana Ng, Irina Maharani.
Air Rifle: Roslina Bakar, Nurul Huda Baharin, Noriha Rani.
Sport Rile Prone: Nordalilah Abu Bakar, Nurul.
Sport Rifle Three Position: Nurul, Roslina, Sarihati Awang.

Squad return recharged


THE national weightlifters returned from their 14-day stint in Moscow
yesterday, looking fitter and with heavier lifts in their personal books.
Even Che Azrol in the 105kg category, who is the least likely to win a
medal in next month's Commonwealth Games because of tough competition, has
"Che Azrol could only lift in the range of 152kg in the clean and jerk
before. But in Moscow, he lifted 160kg. There has also been an overall
improvement in the other seven lifters," said National Sports Council team
manager Abu Hanapah yesterday.
Abu, together with coaches Slava Lalikov, William Yeo and Hamidon Arbi,
were impressed with the lifters' progress at the Russian Weightlifting
Federation Training Centre, about 90km from Moscow.
"Initially, they were to train with the senior Russian squad. But they
were not available because they were preparing for the world championship
in in Sweden in November.
"So we trained with the juniors, who are just as good," said Abu.
Mohamed Hidayat, on whose shoulders rest the potential of at least two
golds in the 69kg category, lifted 170kg in the clean and jerk during the
Hidayat's national record of 160kg in the clean and jerk, recorded
during the Malaysian Open at the Mines Exhibition Hall, was 0.5kg less
than the Commonwealth record set by India's G. Vadivelu.
If he can lift 170 at the Games, the snatch and combined total golds are
"The stint also served a dual purpose because the athletes finally got
to know their Russian coach Lalikov. They are more confident with his
methods after the stint."
Lalikov, who is more of a physical education scientist, has a healing
"The coach can spot an injury before it gets worse because he knows the
trouble spots. One lifter had trouble with his wrists, but after Lalikov
attended to him, it healed almost immediately."
The lifters have resumed fulltime training at the NSC gymnasium where
the coaches will evaluate their starting lifts.
"We want to know the starting weight each lifter feels comfortable with.
This is crucial because if the starting weight is too heavy, the lifter
will not be able to progress to heavier weights comfortably.
The Games squad - 56kg: Matin Guntali, Rahman Ahmad; 62kg: Kamaruzaman
Jusan; 69kg: Mohamed Hidayat, Rosdi Ngah; 77kg: Rozlimand Haron; 85kg:
Edmond Yeo; 105kg: Che Azrol.

NSAM to trim Games squad to 24


SEVEN shooters will be dropped from the Kuala Lumpur Commonwealth Games
list after a meeting between the National Shooting Association of Malaysia
and the National Sports Council today.
The initial NSAM list submitted to the Olympic Council of Malaysia
selection committee had 31 names on it, but it was later discovered that
as hosts, Malaysia can only field a maximum of 24 shooters for the Games.
"According to the Commonwealth Shooting Federation rules, a country who
host 15 shooting events can only field 24 athletes, so we will have to
trim the squad," said NSC shooting co-ordinator Hamdan Ahmad.
In the women's air rifle event, there are three shooters on the list,
and according to Hamdan, only one will be selected.
Noriha Rani, Roslina Bakar and Nurul Huda Baharin are listed for the air
rifle event, and it looks like Nurul has the edge over them.
During the World championships in Barcelona, Nurul finished 13th out of
107 shooters while Roslina finished 18th in the air rifle.
In the air pistol, Russian coach-turned-Malaysian shooter Irina Maharani
fired 383 points to finish ninth among 105 shooters.
"If Nurul and Irina can maintain their form, Malaysia have a good chance
of winning medals," said Hamdan.
After today's selection, the shooters will break camp to represent their
States in the President's Cup at the Subang Range on Aug 7-9.
They will regroup on Aug 13 and head for the Langkawi Shooting Range.
The pre-Games for shooting will be held on Sept 7-10.
JAYA '98 SQUAD - Men: Jasni Shaari (free rifle prone, free rifle three
position), Mutalib Razak (air rifle), Azmi Zakaria (air rifle), Sabiki Din
(ree rifle prone, free rifle three position), Aziz Brahem (air rifle, free
rifle prone, free rile three position), Hashim Desa (air rifle, free
pistol, centre ire pistol), Hazli Iswan Amir (rapid fire pistol), Leong
Wei Heng (trap), Goh Kek Chuan (skeet), Ricky Chee (skeet), Zainal Abidin
(fullbore), Rajeli Asri (fullbore), Zulkeflee Hamsan (fullbore), Rahim
Kamarudin (fullbore), Ali Noor Razif (free pistol), Marzuki Man (centre
fire pistol), David Hor (rapid fire pistol, centre fire pistol), Villow
Kabah (air rifle), Roland Lau (skeet), Emran Zakaria (air rifle, free
rifle prone, free rifle three position), Charles Chen (trap), Nordalila
Abu Bakar (air rifle, sport rifle prone, sport rifle three position).
WOMEN: Noriha Rani (air rile), Roslina Bakar (air rifle, sport rifle
prone, sport rifle three position), Nurul Huda Baharin (air rifle, sport
rifle prone, sport rifle three position), Sarihati Awang (sport rifle
prone, sport rifle three position), Suriani Othman (air pistol), Kamisah
Jalal (air pistol), Norsita Mohamed (sport pistol), Irina Maharani (air
pistol, sport pistol), Che Wan Zulqarnaen (rapid fire pistol).

Seven dropped from list


PAST records will not count in the criteria for selection with the
National Shooting Association of Malaysia (NSAM). Consistency does.
In slashing their Commonwealth Games shooting list yesterday, NSAM left
out Sea Games air rifle gold medallist Azmi Zakaria and Commonwealth
Countries Shooting Championship team air rifle gold medallist Noriha Rani.
Seven shooters were dropped and two more face the axe because NSAM only
want 22 to represent the country.
Nordalila Abu Bakar, Aziz Brahem, David Hor, Roland Lau and Villow Kabah
were also dropped.
The squad - Men: Jasni Shaari (free rifle prone, free rifle three
position), Mutalib Razak (air rifle), Sabiki Din (ree rifle prone, free
rifle three position), Hashim Desa (air rifle, free pistol, centre ire
pistol), Hazli Iswan Amir (rapid fire pistol), Leong Wei Heng (trap), Goh
Kek Chuan (skeet), Ricky Chee (skeet), Ali Noor Razif (free pistol),
Marzuki Man (centre fire pistol), Emran Zakaria (air rifle, free rifle
prone, free rifle three position), Charles Chen (trap).
Women: Roslina Bakar (air rifle, sport rifle prone, sport rifle three
position), Nurul Huda Baharin (air rifle, sport rifle prone, sport rifle
three position), Sarihati Awang (sport rifle prone, sport rifle three
position), Suriani Othman (air pistol), Kamisah Jalal (air pistol),
Norsita Mohamed (sport pistol), Irina Maharani (air pistol, sport pistol),
Che Wan Zulqarnaen (rapid fire pistol).

Games squad not competing in Cup


NATIONAL shooters will not be allowed to take part in the three-day
President's Cup which begins at the Subang Shooting Range today.
The National Shooting Association of Malaysia (NSAM) believe their
shooters have had enough tournament experience leading to the Commonwealth
"The shooters have had an active competition year and they deserve a
break before resuming training on Aug 13 at the Langkawi Shooting Range,"
said NSAM executive secretary Ong Hoon Chin.
And even if the State shooters break national records during the Cup,
they will not be selected for the Games.
"We have named 22 shooters for the Games and there will be no additions,
even if the State shooters do better than the national shooters during the
President's Cup.
"NSAM took this stand because we do not want to disturb those who have
been selected, we must let them prepare in peace."
Presently, the national shooters are enjoying a well-deserved break
after the recent World Shooting Championships in Barcelona.
Malaysia's stars Nurul Huda Baharin and Irina Maharani did the country
proud at the World Championship. Nurul finished 13th out of 107 shooters
in the air rifle while in the air pistol, Russian coach-turned-Malaysian
shooter Irina fired 383 points to finish ninth among 105 shooters.
After the President's Cup, the shooters will re-group on Aug 13 and head
for the Langkawi Shooting Range to train.
Malaysia have never won a shooting medal in the Commonwealth Games.
At the 1994 Victoria Games, veteran Mutalib Razak returned empty handed
while Ali Noor Razif and Hashim Desa took fifth place in the air pistol
with 663.4 points.

Games cost scaled down, says Hashim


THE total budget for the Kuala Lumpur Commonwealth Games will be about 15
per cent below the projected cost of RM310 million, Sukom Ninety Eight
executive chairman Jen (R) Tan Sri Hashim Ali said yesterday.
"The budget was prepared in 1995 and right now we feel it is inflated,"
said Hashim after receiving 100 Mercedes Benz cars from Cycle & Carriage
Bintang (CCB).
Hashim said some of their departments had spent less than the original
allocations and this made it possible for Sukom to reduce expenditure.
"Some of the allocations will not be used because they will not needed
to run the Games."
The new estimate shaves RM46.5 million off the original budget. This
means that Sukom Games budget has now been met
Sukom, have so far collected RM260 million and with the latest estimate,
their books are balanced.
Sukom have also pledged to pay the RM2 million to the Olympic Council of
Malaysia (OCM) for the marketing rights to the Malaysian team.
There was some `complications' over this payment with Sukom saying that
they would wait until next year to balance their books before releasing
any money to OCM.
"The OCM have approached us for money to entertain International Olympic
Committee (IOC) members who will be coming for the Games so we have
decided to advance RM300,000 for the purpose," said Hashim.
"The balance of RM1.7 million will be handed over by April next year."
Some of the equipment for the Games such as gymnastics and weightlifting
apparatus have been purchased by Sukom will also be given to the
"This is still subject to approval by the Sukom shareholders but the
initial feeling is that we will not sell the equipment but give it away.
"And after the Games, if we have surplus money, we will donate some for
sporting excellence."
Sukom started with an RM10 million advance from the Government and they
will honour their pledge to return the money.
"There is no question about that, the RM10 million will be returned to
the Government," said Hashim.
Under the agreement signed with CCB, Sukom will get to use 100 Mercedes
Benz cars as official international cars for use by the Games family
The agreement was signed by Hashim and CCB chairman Tan Sri Salehuddin
Mohamed, with Sukom marketing director Rosly Selamat and CCB managing
director Mohamad Hasan signing as witnesses.
CCB will also provide three convertibles for the opening and closing
"The vehicles will be used to ferry the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and Queen
Elizabeth for the opening and closing ceremonies."

Special Games treat for children


ABOUT 6,000 underprivileged schoolchildren and orphans, thanks to United
Engineers Malaysia (UEM), will receive the treat of their lives when the
Kuala Lumpur Commonwealth Games begins next month.
UEM are the main contractors of the National Sports Complex at Bukit
Jall, the main venue for the Games.
"We would like to give the children a treat to remember for the rest of
their lives," said UEM director Datuk Dr Yahya Ismail yesterday.
"The special part about this treat is that most of the children selected
have never been to Kuala Lumpur before."
The secondary school students are from rural areas, Felda and the Orang
Asli settlements throughout the country including Sabah and Sarawak.
Accommodation for the children, who will be accompanied by about 500
teachers, will be at Universiti Putra Malaysia. Games tickets, food, T-
shirts, track pants, socks and shoes are among the goodies that await
"It will actually be an educational package and the students will be
taken on a sight-seeing tour of Parliament, Masjid Negara, Dataran
Merdeka, Istana Negara and other places of interest," said Yahya after
signing an MoU with the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of National
Unity and Social Development and Sukom Ninety Eight Berhad.
The students will watch Games in batches, with the two main batches
staying three days in Kuala Lumpur. Special children and orphans from
Selangor and Kuala Lumpur will be taken on day trips.

Muhyiddin: Ministry did not meddle


SPORTS Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, after being burnt by the Roslin
Hashim badminton affair and now confronted with the simmering problem over
Commonwealth Games selection for rhythmic gymnastics, distanced himself
from the selection process.
He made it clear yesterday that neither he nor Sports Commissioner Datuk
Ahmad Bakri Shabdin have any say in the selection of athletes for the
Games next month.
Some quarters have also accused Bakri of trying to interfere in the
selection of rhythmic gymnasts.
"I want to make it absolutely clear that the Sports Ministry have no say
in the selection of athletes for the Commonwealth Games," said Muhyiddin
after witnessing the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU)
involving United Engineers Malaysia, the Ministry of Education, the
Ministry of National Unity and Social Development and Sukom '98.
The MoU is to arrange to bring down 6,000 students from outside Kuala
Lumpur for the Games.
"The responsible parties (for selection) are the Olympic Council of
Malaysia (OCM) and the associations," said Muhyiddin.
"Bakri and I don't have the power to select or drop an athlete. Yes,
parents can approach us for advice, but the final say is with the OCM and
In reply to the rhythmic gymnasts' standoff due to OCM inteference,
Muhyiddin said any boycott at this juncture would be damaging.
"All the athletes and their parents must understand that the Games are
bigger than individual athletes. And if athletes are dropped, they have
the right to appeal but not cause trouble."
The parents of Farah Zelina, who was dropped from the Games rhythmic
gymnastics team, have been lobbying to get her included.
OCM secretary Sieh Kok Chi had proposed to the father of one of the
gymnast selected, Sundara Rajah, to get his daughter Sarina to step down
in favour of Farah.
This enraged the fathers of all the four gymnasts selected and they have
threatened to pull out their daughters if there is any change to the
Muhyiddin said that Sieh should not have tried to handle the matter
"They (OCM) have a committee for selection and instead of an individual
effort, the committee should have been consulted before making any moves,"
he said.
"The OCM have good clear guidelines and are not new in the business of
selecting athletes. I am suprised the issue has been blown out of

Big money for Games medal winners


COMMONWEALTH Games gold medallists are about to hit the jackpot now that
large corporations are jumping on the bandwagon with monetary incentives.
Sony (M) Sdn Bhd yesterday announced an incentive scheme offering
RM10,000 for an individual gold at the Games.
"We believe other corporate bodies will come forward to offer rewards
for medal winners at the Games. There are no plans to impose a limit on
the purse," said Sports Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin after witnessing
an MoU signing between Sony and the National Sports Council (NSC)
The MoU was signed by Sony managing director Hideo Kojima and NSC
director-general Datuk Mazlan Ahmad.
"We are honoured to provide these incentives as a token of appreciation
to the Malaysian athletes. As this is the first time Malaysia will be
hosting a sporting event of this magnitude, we encourage all athletes to
do their best. We may even consider incentives for the Asian Games in
December," said Kojima.
For team events which consist of six or more athletes, a gold medal is
worth RM30,000, silver RM15,000 and bronze RM7,000.
For individual efforts, Sony will pay RM5,000 for silver and RM3,000 for
The NSC incentive scheme is RM80,000 for gold, RM40,000 for silver and
RM20,000 for bronze.
"Some quarters have cautioned us not to be too generous but that is the
trend right now. If the athletes achieve excellence during the Games and
more sponsors come in with money, we will not limit the amount.
"In 1995, when the Jaya '98 project started, we had 5,000 athletes who
underwent numerous selections and the final figure today is 237 athletes.
It only goes to show how strict the selections have been," said Muhyiddin.
A whopping RM160 million was put aside for the Jaya '98 project and the
NSC have spent RM136 million as of July.
"The money has been used to pay foreign coaches, overseas stints,
allowances and other benefits to the athletes. We hope they will meet the
NSC target of winning seven gold, six silver and 11 bronze medals at the
KL Games."
When asked to comment on Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad's
statement on athletes on Sunday, he said it was timely and appropriate.

ICC observer Ranjan has no complaints


INTERNATIONAL Cricket Council (ICC) match referee Ranjan Madugalee from
Sri Lanka visited the eight venues for the Commonwealth Games yesterday,
and the initial vibes are that all is well.
"The International Cricket Council (ICC) sent me here to inspect all the
venues and report which, if any, are able to host one-day internationals.
That is all," he said.
Indian Cricket Board Control (BCCI) secretary Jaywant Lele had on Monday
said 22 cricketeers have been selected for the Games and Sahara Cup, but
they will wait for Ranjan's report before deciding on the Games squad.
An official from the Malaysian Cricket Association (MCA) had a different
story to tell.
"India are not willing to compete in the Commonwealth Games because the
Sahara Cup scheduled to be held in Canada is more lucrative. And since the
dates clash, they would rather sent their first team there.
"Right now they are only looking for excuses and Ranjan seems to be a
good scapegoat."
India play a five-match series with Pakistan for the Sahara Cup next
Ranjan was not willing to comment on the conditions of the venues
because he has to submit his findings to the ICC first before making it
public but it is believed that he is impressed with three venues that can
host one-day internationals and will make such a recommendation to the

Strongmen ready for Games glory


THE silver medal that Matin Guntali lifted at the Royal Theatre in
Victoria in 1994 was the start of good things for the sport in Malaysia.
It was worth RM40,000 to Matin but for the next generation of
weightlifters, it was priceless.
The medal, the nation's first in the Games in 32 years, gave the sport a
much-needed lift which was then, striving for credibility in Malaysia.
Since then, the Malaysian Weightlifting Federation had produced eight
lifters capable of winning at least three gold medals for Malaysia in
Kuala Lumpur next month.
Besides Matin, the others are Rahman Ahmad (56kg), Kamaruzaman Jusan
(62kg), Mohamed Hidayat, Rosdi Ngah (69kg), Rozlimand Haron (77kg), Edmond
Yeo (85kg), and Che Azrol (105kg).
"We have had a very good training programme with the help of the
National Sports Council since the Games training started in mid-1995,"
said NSC weightlifting team manager Abu Hanapah.
"In fact, weightlifting has never had it so good. We have travelled to
numerous places like Nauru, Russa, Taiwan and Australia for tournaments
and training stints."
That was not the case when Matin trained for his silver.
"Money was always a problem, especially when preparing for major
assignments back then," said the bodybuilder-turned-weightlifter.
Matin, 32, lifted 130kg at the Victoria Games to win the silver in the
54kg clean and jerk. In the process, he smashed the national record of
112.5kg set by fellow Sabahan Rajunit Pangkat in April 1994. (The 54kg
category has been replaced by 56kg now).
These days, Matin has not been up to form and the "new" force in the
56kg is Rahman Ahmad.
"It is true that he (Matin) has not been up to the mark, but the coaches
have said that he is capable of a medal in the category," said Hanapah.
In Victoria, Rahman finished fifth with a 97.5kg lift in the snatch. In
the clean and jerk, he started at 120kg but strained his back while
attempting 127kg.
But Rahman has steadily progressed since.
At the Malaysian Open at the Mines Exhibition Hall in June, Rahman
rewrote two national records and equalled the Commonwealth record in the
56kg category.
Rahman made a clean sweep of golds in the snatch, clean and jerk and the
combined total.
In the snatch, Rahman lifted 107.5kg to smash the old record of 102.5
set by Roswadi Rashid. It also equalled the Commonwealth championship
record achieved by India's Thandava Muthu in Nauru.
In the combined total, he lifted 237.5kg to shatter Roswadi's national
record of 227.5. His winning lift of 130kg in the snatch and jerk equalled
Guntali's national record.
In the 69kg category, Hidayat will have his hands full competing against
Nauru's Marcus Stephen who broke three Oceania and Commonwealth
championship records at the Micronesian Games on Aug 5.
Stephen is ranked number five in the world.
In the clean and jerk he started with a 155kg lift which gave him a gold
over Kiribati's Kamaraia Eken whose best was 127.5kg.
Then he went to a record 165.5kg, breaking the Micro Games, Oceania and
Commonwealth championship records. The previous record stood at 165kg.
He also snatched 125kg to win gold and a new Micro and Oceania record by

Spectacular it will be


THE Commonwealth Games is here.
On Saturday Malaysia will deliver the Games to the waiting world. It is
not cheap. It is the most expensive Games ever. Close to RM2 billion have
been spent to make it the best and now we wait for the show to begin.
Former colonies gather to compete in a friendly atmosphere and reminisce
the days of the British Raj.
It is the biggest event after the Olympics. Seventy countries, 6,000
competitors and a host of officials will be here.
"It is a halfway house between the Asian Games and the Olympics," says
Datuk Dr M. Jegathesan, who competed in the 1966 Kingston Games.
"The element of competition is second. Friendship comes first," adds
Olympic Council of Malaysia general secretary Sieh Kok Chi.
True, some quarters perceive it as a poor man's Games. Except for the
big four - Canada, England, New Zealand and Australia, the bulk of the
Commonwealth are third world countries.
Except for England, Wales, Ireland, Scotland, the rest of Europe are
missing. There is Canada but none from the Gulf States.
No China, Japan or South Korea.
Asia have India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and some Asean
New Zealand and Australia are dominant forces. Africa are well
represented and so are the numerous Pacific islands and the Carribean.
Whatever one may say, at least in some sports there are qualitatively
world class performers.
Athletics, swimming, cycling, hockey, cricket, squash, netball. All of
them will see the best in the business in action.
So hold your breath as Kuala Lumpur host the biggest ever sporting event
after the Olympics.
Take rugby, cricket, swimming, athletics, cycling and tenpin bowling -
for the first time some great stuff is in store.
The Games will also go down in the history as the first Games since its
inception in 1950 which offers team sport. It has never been the tradition
of the Games to go big. It has remained spartan, no more than 10 sports
and only individual sports to be contested.
But those who founded the Games must have envisaged the day will come
when the Games will grow and spread its wings. In Malaysia, cricket,
rugby, netball, squash, hockey and tenpin bowling will make their
respective debuts.
Sports where some of the world's best originate from the Commonwealth.
"That was precisely why we fought for their inclusion," explains Olympic
Council of Malaysia (OCM) vice-president Tunku Imran Tuanku Jaafar. "The
other reason was purely commercial. In cricket and rugby we can sell air
In a crowded sports calendar, the Games had to remain relevant. The
inclusion of team sports has given the Games a higher profile.
Kuala Lumpur will also be remembered for extending their hand to those
lacking financial means to compete here. 2,000 free airline tickets were
distributed to ensure participation from all 70 countries.
The Commonwealth Games are unique. Unlike other Games such as the Asian
Games, SEA Games, Pan-American Games, which exist on geographical premise,
Commonwealth brings together countries scattered over the four corners of
the world to celebrate sporting excellence.
They have a common past - all ruled by the British. English as the
common linga franca.
The Commonwealth Games are the only Games to have a mission statement
(see box). To this day the Games try to adhere to it.
And for the first time the Games will break with tradition when it is
declared open by the Malaysian King and not Queen Elizabeth as on previous
The Games come to Malaysia at an interesting time in our history. Not
long after Malaysia hosted CHOGM in 1989, with memories of the country
still fresh in their minds, 40 Commonwealth countries gave Malaysia the
nod over Adelaide in 1992. Only 23 voted for Adelaide.
This will be the last Games of the millennium and it is appropriate that
Malaysia show to the world that they can be gracious and capable hosts.

Star-studded cast for Masters


DEFENDING champion Christian Pena of the US and European Tour player Jeev
Milka Singh of India are among star-studded cast who will feature in the
US$200,000 Volvo Masters tournament at Kota Permai Golf and Country Club
beginning tomorrow.
Pena fired a final-round 69 last year and won by a single shot from
Taiwan's Hsieh Yu-Shu.
Jeev Milka, a three-time winner on the Omega Tour, is tipped to be among
the contenders.
Jeev finished 22nd in last week's German Open in Berlin.
His best finish on European Tour was in the English Open where he was
tied for eighth position.
But the man to watch is Scotland's Simon Yates.
Yates secured his first professional victory on the Omega Tour last
weekend with a one-stroke victory over South Africa's Des Terbalance at
the Sabah Masters.
"It was a fantastic course in Sabah but the weather was too hot for my
liking. Right now I have lost some of my swing and feel extremely tired
after the uphill walks but I am confident of similar success," said Yates.
Yates, winner of the 1994 German PGA championship is 15th on the Omega
Order of Merit after eight events. The leader is Edward Fryatt of England,
who has won US$87,000 after only three events.
Pena's form this year indicates that he will have a tough time defending
his title, what with the field being the strongest in the four-year
history of the tournament. Pena, 29, has had a bad year and his best
finish was 16th at the Volvo China Open. He is 48th on the money list.
Malaysian golfers have yet to register a victory after four attempts. P.
Gunasegaran is the best-ranked local with US$6,990 in winnings while Ali
Kadir was the highest-placed Malaysian in the Masters after finishing tied

Meeks, Zarate lead on rain-hit day


HEAVY rain again disrupted play in the US$200,000 Volvo Masters of
Malaysia at the Kota Permai Golf and Country Club in Shah Alam yesterday.
But not before Eric Meeks of US and Danny Zarate of the Philippines were
able to complete their second rounds and take the clubhouse lead.
Meeks fired a six-under 66 to lie seven under for the Omega Tour event
along with Zarate who returned four-under 68.
Myanmar's Zow Moe was also seven under but still had nine holes
remaining when play was called off for the day at 4.45. Seventy-two other
golfers have also yet to finish their game.
Asian PGA executive director Ramlan Harun said they will continue the
abandoned matches today and see how the proceedings goes.
"We are hoping to have full rounds," said Ramlan.
"If you hit into the right places on this course then you can score
well, if you don't then you are in trouble. In the first round I did not
find the right places and got nowhere but that thought me how to play the
course," said Meeks.
Meeks is still looking for his first win in Asia despite numerous second
place finishes in the region over the past few seasons.
LEADING 2nd rd scores: (72 golfers still to complete 2nd round due to
rain) 137 Eric Meeks (US) 71-66, Danny Zarate (Phi) 69-68; 138 Choi Kyung-
ju (S. Kor) 68-70, Wang Ter-chang (Tai) 68-70, Chung Joon (S. Kor) 65-73;
139 Chris Williams (Eng) 71-68, Mardan Mamat (Sin) 69-70, Boonchu Ruangkit
(Thai) 66-73; 141 Peter Teravainen (US) 72-69, Mo Joong-kyung (S. Kor) 72-
69, Gerry Norquist (US) 71-70, Anthony Kang (S. Kor) 71-70, Dominique
Boulet (HK) 70-71; 142 Chang Tse-peng (Tai) 70-72; 143 Lin Chih-chen (Tai)
74-69, Lin Chien-bing (Tai) 72-71, Rob Huxtable (US) 70-73, Chen Tsang-te
(Tai) 70-73, Yeh Wei-tze (Tai) 69-74.
144 Lu Wen-teh (Tai) 73-71, Gaurav Ghei (Ind) 73-71, Vivek Bhandari
(Ind) 72-72, Andrew Bonhomme (Aus) 71-73, Kim Wan-tae (S. Kor) 71-73; 145
Yuji Kurita (Jpn) 75-70, Dan Cruz (Phi) 71-74; 146 Tomoharu Ozaki (Jpn)
79-67, Jamnian Chitprasong (Thai) 76-70, Christian Pena (US) 76-70, Rob
Willis (Aus) 74-72, Yasuhiro Taguchi (Jpn) 74-72, Kenny Walker (Scot) 74-
72, Hsu Mong-nan (Tai) 74-72, P. Gunasegaran (Mas) 73-73, Simon Yates
(Scot) 72-74, Jamaluddin Bador (Mas) 72-74, Thammanoon Sriroj (Thai) 71-
75, Toru Kinoshita (Jpn) 68-78.
147 Lin Wen-tang (Tai) 74-73, Lai Hung-lin (Tai) 74-73, Kim Seung-il (S.
Kor) 74-73; 148 Tatsuya Kihara (Jpn) 79-69, Nozomi Kawahara (Jpn) 75-73,
Nandasena Perera (S. Lanka) 75-73, Clay Devers (US) 75-73, Simon Owen (NZ)
75-73, Marciano Pucay (Phi) 75-73, Aaron Meeks (US) 74-74, Shahizul Ahmad
(Mas) 73-75.
149 M. Murugiah (Sin) 75-74, Kim Tae-hoon (S. Kor) 75-74, M. Ramayah
(Mas) 75-74, Yasunobu Kuramoto (Jpn) 73-76, Norio Shinozaki (Jpn) 72-77;
150 Uttam Singh Mundy (Ind) 76-74, Zhang Lian-wei (Ch) 75-75; 151 Ahmad
Jamil (Mas) 78-73.
152 Hajime Tanaka (Jpn) 78-74, Nazamuddin Yusof (Mas) 75-77, Thaworn
Wiratchant (Thai) 75-77; 153 Amandeep Johl (Ind) 78-75; 154 Suthep
Bunpimuck (Thai) 80-74, Din Nor (Mas) 78-76, Norio Matsuki (Jpn) 73-81;
155 Rusli Johari (Mas) 79-76.
156 V. Supphavarangoon (Thai) 78-78, Moon Choon-bok (S. Kor) 77-79; 157
Jee Tae-hwa (S. Kor) 76-81; 158 Andrew Morrow (Aus) 77-81; 159 Tahir
Ismail (Mas) 82-77; 160 Soe Kyaw Naing (Myan) 79-81; 167 V. Nellan (Mas)

Zaw Moe still in driver's seat


THUNDER, lightning and a thick sheet of pouring rain failed to dampen the
blistering form of Myanmar's Zaw Moe at the US$200,000 Volvo Masters of
Malaysia at the Kota Permai Golf and Country Club in Shah Alam yesterday.
Zaw Moe, who has yet to make a bogey, reached 13-under in the rain after
nine holes in the third round to lead by six strokes.
Yesterday, only five players managed to finish the third round while 72
others will complete theirs today and continue with the final round in the
Danny Zarate of the Philippines, who was playing in the same group as
Zaw Moe and Korea's Choi Kyung-ju and Mexico's Carlos Espinosa, was in
second place. Choi has nine holes to complete while Espinosa has 12 holes
to play.
Overnight leader Eric Meeks, who managed to finish nine holes, is six-
under while first round leader Boonchu Ruangkit is in the 19th place with
Ed Fryatt, the leader in the Omega Tour with US$87,097 in his coffer, is
in fifth placing with six-under.
"The rain doesn't bother me at all, I am used to this sort of
conditions," said Zaw Moe, who is currently 32nd on the Japan PGA Tour
money list.
"I am playing very well following lessons from my coach Phil Ridson."
The 31-year-old, who lives in Singapore, completed his second round
early yesterday and led with a five-under67.
Zaw Moe will also feature in next week's Singapore Open, where he will
attempt to defend his title. Yesterday, he extended his lead late with a
three-under on the front nine following birdies on the second, seventh and
"I am not missing any greens but right now, I don't want to be bothered
with the score because it will only upset my game. All I want to do is
rest," said Zaw Moe.
Choi, who is still looking for his first win on the Omega Tour, was
visibly affected by the rain.
"It has slowed everything down. I made a birdie on the par-five first
after reaching the green on two but then had eight pars. The ball was not
running far on the soggy fairways and greens," said Choi.
"If the weather is better tomorrow (today), then the rest of us will
have a better chance of catching up with Zaw Moe."
While Zaw Moe is comfortably at the front, the field is tightly bunched
behind him with eight players tied at six-under for the tournament and six
at five-under.
If Zaw Moe starts to drop his shots today, the tournament will be wide
Ali Kadir, P. Gunasegaran and Jamaluddin Bador were the Malaysians who
made the cut but were trailing far behind the leader.
Leading scores (2nd rd) - 134 Zaw Moe (Myn) 67, 67; 137 Eric Meeks (US)
71, 66; Danny Zarate (Phi) 69, 68; Ed Fryatt (Eng) 72, 66; 138 Chawalit
Plaphol (Tha) 69, 69; Choi Kyung-ju (Kor) 68,70; Wang Ter-chang (Tai)
68,70; Chung Joon (Kor) 65, 73.
139 Chris Williams (Eng) 71, 68; Mike Cunning (US) 71, 68; Des
Terblanche (RSa) 71, 68; Carlos Espinoza (Mex) 71, 68; Nico Van Rensburg
(RSa) 70, 69; Fran Quinn (US) 70, 69; Mardan Mamat (Sin) 69, 70; Adrian
Percey (Aust) 68, 71; Boonchu Ruangkit (Tha) 66, 73.
140 Jim Rutledge (Can) 72, 68; 141 Peter Teeravainen (US) 72, 69; Mo
Joong Kyung (Kor) 72, 69; Gerry Norquist (US) 71, 70; Anthony Kang (Kor)
71, 70; Eric Rustand (US) 71, 70; Greg Hanrahan (US) 71, 70; Dominique
Boulet (HK) 70, 71; James Kingston (RSa) 70, 71; Felix Casas (Phi) 68, 73.

Williams lands the big purse


ZAW MOE took a comfortable six-stroke lead into the final round of the
Volvo Masters golf championship, then did a Greg Normanesque collapse to
let Chris Williams steal the title from under his nose yesterday.
Williams had started the final round nine strokes behind Zaw Moe, who
carded third consecutive five-under 67 in the morning to complete his
third round which was delayed by rain on Saturday.
But he didn't reckon on Williams staging a comeback in one of the most
exciting finishes on the Omega Tour.
Birdies on the 11th and 12th fired up the 39-year-old Englishman. He
followed with a par on the 13th and when he walked up to the 14th tee,
Williams was really pumped up.
The par-3 165 yards 14th will surely remain in Williams' memory for a
long time. That was where he scored a hole-in-one and probably, the moment
which turned around the outcome.
"I hit an eight-iron right down the stick. It rolled eight feet and
dropped in. It was a wonderful moment," said Williams, who moved from
Liverpool to South Africa at the age of four but still travels with his
British passport.
He finished the round with a three-under 69 and tied for the lead on
nine-under 279 with Zaw Moe and Adrian Percey of Australia.
Zaw Moe blew up with a final round six-over 78 while Percey had a 71,
which forced a three-way sudden playoff.
And after four dramatic holes in sudden death, Williams walked away with
the winner's purse of US$32,300.
Williams sank a 20-footer for birdie on the par-5 18th ahead of Zaw Moe,
who faced a 15-footer for par. Percey was knocked out on the first playoff
Williams, who last won a major title in Zimbabwe in 1993, was
overwhelmed afterwards.
"Never at one stage during the round did I think I could win," he said.
"I'll take part in the Singapore Open next week and hope to play a
steady hand."
Zaw Moe faltered in the final round with a double bogey on the eighth,
first nine, and bogeys on the third and sixth.
Zaw Moe had a chance of cutting clean on the 18th of regulation play but
he missed a birdie chance from six feet which took play into sudden-death.
Zaw Moe, the defending Singapore Open champion, left immediately after
finishing the playoffs.
Omega Tour leader and Malaysian Open champion Ed Fryatt finished joint-
25th on 286 while the best placed Malaysian was Ali Kadir, who had a four-
day total of 289 to finish jointh 38th.
Ali carded two over 74 in the final round while P. Gunasegaran ended
49th with four over 292. FINAL ROUND SCORES
279 Zaw Moe (Myan) 67-67-67-78, Adrian Percey (Aus) 68-71-69-71, Chris
Williams (Eng) 71-68-71-69 - Williams wins on fourth playoff at 18th.
280 Jim Rutledge (Can) 72-68-72-68; 281 Wang Ter-Chang (Tai) 68-70-69-
74; 282 Peter Teravainen (US) 72-69-73-68, Hsieh Yu-shu (Tai) 76-68-68-70,
Chung Joon (S. Kor) 65-73-73-71, Eric Meeks (US) 71-66-74-71, Anthony Kang
(S. Kor) 71-70-68-73, Choi Kyung-ju 68-70-69-75; 283 Greg Hanrahan (US)
71-70-70-72, Fran Quinn (US) 70-69-72-72, Mardan mamat (Sin) 69-70-72-72,
Eric Rustand (US) 71-70-69-73.
284 Mo Joong-Kyung (S. Kor) 72-69-74-69, Felix casas (Phi) 68-73-70-73,
Nico Van Rensburg (RSA) 70-69-72-73; 285 Lu Wen-Teh (Tai) 73-71-70-71,
James Kingston (RSA) 70-71-72-72, Prayad Marksaeng (Thai) 73-71-68-73,
Grant Dodd (Aus) 70-72-70-73, Gerry Norquist (US) 71-70-71-73, Carlos
Espinoza (Mex) 71-68-70-76; 286 Simon Yates (Scot) 72-74-73-67, Ramon
Brobio (Phi) 72-71-74-69, Christian Pena (US) 76-70-71-69, Arjun Singh
(Ind) 70-72-72-72, Lin Chih chen (Tai) 74-69-70-73, Craig kamps (RSA) 73-
71-69-73, Ed Fryatt (Eng) 72-66-74-74, Des Terblanche (RSA) 71-68-71-76.
288 Paul Foley (Aus) 72-72-72-72, Tsai Chi-huang (Tai) 72-72-70-74, Mike
Cunning (US) 71-68-72-77, Boonchu Ruangkit (Thai) 66-73-72-77, Chawalit
Plaphol (Thai) 69-69-73-77; 289 Leith Wastle (Aus) 73-73-72-71, Bong Tae-
ha (S. Kor) 73-72-71-73, Ali Kadir (Mas) 73-72-70-74, Dominique Boulet
(HK) 70-71-72-76, Danny Zarate (PHI) 69-68-73-79; 290 Rob Willis (Aus) 74-
72-73-71, Chang Tse-pEng (Tai) 70-72-76-72, Kazuo Yamamoto (Jpn) 75-71-71-
73, Rob Huxtable (US) 70-73-73-74; ... 292 P. Gunasegaran 73-73-74-72
(Mas); ... 295 Jamaluddin Bador (Mas)72-74-75-74.

Hard target


THE Commonwealth Games have become a hard target for Malaysia's women
First, Nurul Huda Baharin broke her arm in two places earlier this month
and will have to wait until next Monday to know whether she can compete in
the Games.
Now it's Irina Maharani's turn to be hit by bad news. The Malaysianised
Russian will have to get clearance from the International Shooting
Federation (UIT) if she intends to represent Malaysia in the Games.
Shooting was one of the sports where Malaysia were expected to win gold
medals - through Nurul and Irina.
Irina, formerly of Russia and the 1994 air pistol world champion, has
been residing in Malaysia for three years but only received her
citizenship in May.
Although the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) ruling states that an
athlete who fulfils a three-year residential requirement can compete, UIT
ruling requires citizenship for at least three years.
UIT ruling takes precedence at the Games and should Irina win a medal,
there is nothing to stop the other competitors from lodging a protest.
"The National Sports Council (NSC) and the Olympic Council of Malaysia
(OCM) will be writing to the UIT to get clearance for her. If UIT say she
can't shoot, we will withdraw her," said Azizan Zainal, NSC's director of
athletes preparation, yesterday.
In short, this will mean Irina will not be representing Malaysia because
to allow her to compete, UIT will have to bend their rules and they are
not likely to set this precedent.
Irina, who coaches the air pistol and sport pistol shooters, fired 383
points to finish ninth among 105 shooters at the world championship in
Barcelona in July.
There were no protests lodged in Barcelona simply because she didn't wn
a medal
But the Commonwealth Games is something else for Irina is highly tipped
to win a gold in the air pistol and a medal in the sport pistol.
NSC director general Datuk Mazlan Ahmad is not overly worried.
"What can we do? When she took part in the Barcelona World Championship
nobody protested but for the Games the OCM have advised us to go through
the proper channels so that we don't end up as losers," he said.
Nurul broke her arm in a motorcycle accident on Aug 10 and is a doubtful
She won three golds at the Commonwealth championship in Langkawi, two
golds at the Jakarta Sea Games and finished 13th out of a field of 109 at
the World Championship in Barcelona.

All's not lost, Irina


THERE is every possibility that Irina Maharani will be able to shoot for
Malaysia at the Commonwealth Games after all - provided the National
Shooting Association of Malaysia (NSAM) get her `release' from their
Russian counterparts.
There were doubts about Irina's eligibility after shooting officials
found out that she may not meet International Shooting Federation (UIT)
residential requirements.
Irina has been residing in Malaysia for three years and received her
citizenship in July this year.
Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) ruling states that an athlete who
fulfills a three-year residential requirement can compete, but the snag
here is the UIT ruling which requires citizenship for at least three
"The three-year citizenship ruling will not be contested but there are
other provisions that will allow Irina to compete," said National Shooting
Association of Malaysia (NSAM) executive secretary Ong Hoon Chin in Kuala
Lumpur yesterday.
"The UIT ruling also says that an athlete can shoot for another country
if he or she receives the approval of both associations."
"We have already written to the Russian Shooting Union (RSU) to release
her and we hope to get a favourable reply soon."
Irina returned to Russia last week, using a Malaysian passport, to sort
out matters and she did get a letter of release from the RSU but it was
adressed to her and not NSAM.
"Since the UIT only recognise affiliates and not individuals, the letter
is not valid. The RSU must deal directly with the NSAM," said an NSAM
official who did not want to be named.
The UIT executive committee monthly meeting is scheduled for the end of
the month and NSAM would have to make sure Irina's case is on the agenda.
"The NSAM are working against time to clear Irina for the Games and we
are confident of a favourable outcome."
Coach-turned-shooter Irina received her citizenship after she fired 383
points to finish ninth among 105 shooters at the world championships in
Barcelona in July.
"The decision to send her to Barcelona was made by the National Sports
Council (NSC) to gauge her performance before finalising her citizenship.
"The NSAM only knew about it at the eleventh hour but since the NSC were
willing to pay for her expenses we did not object.
"When we told the NSC that she needs the UIT greenlight to shoot in
Barcelona, we were told not to worry about it because she would be there
not to win medals so the issue of a protest would not arise.
"Her mission in Barcelona was just to prove that she still has the touch
to represent Malaysia."
Irina's 383 points in Barcelona is good enough to win her the air pistol
gold at the Commonwealth Games level.
While Irina will have to wait for the Russian letter at the end of the
month to know if she will be able to shoot at the Games, Nurul Huda
Baharin will know on Monday about her participation.
Like Irina, Nurul is a medal prospect but she broke her arm in an
accident earlier this month.
The doctors at Kuala Lumpur Hospital will decide on Nurul on Monday.

`Open House' at Bukit Jalil


IN keeping with the true Malaysian spirit, Sukom Ninety Eight Berhad will
hold an "open house" at the National Sports Complex at Bukit Jalil on
The public are invited to see for themselves the state-of-art facilities
that will be used for the Games.
"This is a rare opportunity for the public to visit all five venues at
the Bukit Jalil Complex and familiarise themselves with the routes," said
Sukom executive chairman Tan Sri Hashim Ali yesterday.
"After this the facilities will be open only to those who have tickets."
The five venues are National Stadium, the Aquatic Stadium, the Squash
Centre, the Hockey Stadium and the indoor Putra Stadium.
They will be open to the public until 2.0.
The Bukit Jalil Complex is a sight to behold now that almost 99 per cent
of work has been completed.
Hundreds of trees and flowering plants have been planted and the area
looks like a well manicured lake gardens.
"There will be guided tours and the various venue managers will explain
to the public on the facilities available at each stadium.
"For those who have booked, and those who plan to buy tickets for the
Games, this will be a very good opportunity to know their way around the
complex. The police as well as volunteers will be there to help with any
Cars will be allowed to be driven to the parking lots surrounding the
Meanwhile, Hashim has written to the Australian Commonwealth Games
Association (ACGA) to seek clarification over a remark made by their
general manager, Perry Crosswhite.
Among others, Crosswhite had commented: "I think if we judge it in
respect of Western standards we are going to have to be very careful about
that because we're used to running sports event of this magnitude and they
are not."
Hashim sent the fax to ACGA secretary Arthur Turnstall yesterday: "I
will wait for a response before making a stand because controversies don't
serve any purpose at this stage.
"These are friendly games, so let's keep with the spirit."
Hashim has one request to the foreign media and athletes.
"Come to the Games with an open mind, don't come with negative feelings
nurtured by malicious reports."

Now Ukrainians in Irina's way


TO shoot for Malaysia, Irina Maharani will have to get approval from four
Yes, two more associations than the last count.
Earlier, the National Shooting Association (NSAM) said that Irina will
need the approval of NSAM and the Russian Shooting Union (RSU) to shoot at
the Commonwealth Games.
There are no problems with NSAM and yesterday, they added the Moscow
Shooting Federation (MSF) and the Ukranian Shooting Federation (USF) to
the list.
All because what was formerly known as the Soviet Union, are now
separate republics.
They have the go-ahead from the RSU and the MSF but the USF are hard to
"The problem here is that Irina was shooting for the Soviet Union when
they were still intact and won medals under the Ukrainian, Moscow and
Russian associations," said NSAM secretary-general Datuk J.J. Raj.
"Now that the Soviet Union are no longer, we have to approach the three
separately to satisfy the International Shooting Federation (UIT) ruling."
Only when the letter of release is received from Ukraine can NSAM appeal
to UIT to allow Irina to participate in the shooting competition in
Langkawi on Sept 13-20.
The 37-year-old 1986 sport pistol world champion became a Malaysian
citizen in July after she finished ninth among 105 shooters at the World
Championships in Barcelona and has since been under the spotlight because
the National Sports Council (NSC) and the NSAM did not realise the
Under the Commonwealth Games Federation ruling, which states that an
athlete has to fulfill a three-year residency requirement, Irina is
cleared to shoot.
But under UIT rulings, she has to be a citizen of three years, which she
is not.
However, there is a loophole in the ruling which the NSAM hope to
According to a sub-clause in the UIT rulings, she will be able to shoot
if she receives a release letter from her former associations.
"It will be tough (to contact Ukraine) because communications are not
very good in that part of the world, but we are confident of getting a
favourable reply," said Raj.
"If not, she will coach the air and sport pistol shooters."
It is understood that as a contingency measure, Bibiana Ng Pei Chin has
been included into the squad.
Meanwhile, NSC director of athletes preparation Azizan Zainol said the
six-day motivation camp at Universiti Tenaga Nasional in Bangi is not
compulsory for the shooters because they are training in Langkawi.
The camp, beginning tomorrow, is the final phase of training for the
Malaysian contingent to the Games.

Power-packed Kenya


THE Kenyans will turn up in full force for the Kuala Lumpur Commonwealth
Games and going by the list of entries sent to Sukom Ninety Eight, they
are going to make a clean sweep in the middle and long distance track
Daniel Komen, Wilson Boit Kipketer, Japheth Kimutai ... the list is long
and impressive, if they are not worn out after the World Cup in South
Africa on Sept 11-13.
The athletics events for the Games begin on Sept 16-21.
Kenya will be represented by 27 men and 11 women. While their women have
yet to make a name in the world scene, the men are power packed.
Komen, the world indoor 3,000m champion, will be running in the 1,500m
in Kuala Lumpur because he wants to improve on his speed after Ethiopian
Haile Gebreselassie cracked his 5,000m world record at the Helsinki Grand
Prix in July.
Gebreselassie clocked 12:39.36 to erase Komen's time of 12:39.74.
Not to be outdone, compatriots John Kibowen and Laban Rotich are also in
the running for the 1,500m gold. Kibowen has a personal best of 3:33.43
while Rotich's best is 3:32.11.
"I have a surprise in store for athletics enthusiasts," Rotich was
quoted earlier this month.
Komen and Gebreselassie have been playing cat-and-mouse for much of the
year and Komen got his revenge when he shattered the Ethiopian's 5,000m
indoor world record at the Globen Galan in Stockholm in February.
He clinched the record with an astonishing time of 12:51.48 - shaving
nearly eight seconds off the world mark of 12:59.04 set by Gebrselassie at
the Globen Galan last year.
This was the latest conquest in a tightly-fought rivalry between the two
athletes and came just 13 days after Komen beat Gebrselassie's world
indoor 3,000m record with a time of 7:24.90 in Budapest. In August 1997,
Komen bettered Gebrselassie's outdoor 5,000m mark.
But since Ethiopian Gebreselassie will not be competing, the Kenyans
will have a field day in the 5,000m and 10,000m as well.
In the 1,500m Japheth Kimutai, who gave up soccer for athletics, toppled
Wilson Kipketer in the 800m with 1:44.96 at the Zurich Grand Prix earlier
this month.
He is the world No 1 over two laps this year with a time of 1:42.7.
The 20-year-old Kimutai has been described as being as "smooth as
Kipketer". And his 32-year-old Australian manager, James Templeton,
clearly thinks that he is the new world force.
Kimutai handed his former compatriot Wilson Kipketer his first defeat in
almost three years in Monaco. Kimutai, who chose athletics ahead of soccer
because he idolised Kip Keino, got the better of Kipketer, the Kenyan-born
naturalised Dane in the final 20 metres to become the first man since
Benson Koech beat the world indoor and outdoor record holder in the Grand
Prix Final in Monaco.
The 3,000m steeplechase has attracted world-class field, including
Olympic champion Joseph Keter, world champion Boit Kipketer and world
record holder Bernard Barmasai.
Barmasai's time is 7:55.72. KENYAN SQUAD
Men - 400m: Abednego Mutunga, Kennedy Ochieng; 800m: Jebet Lagat,
Japheth Kimutai, Patrick Ndururi, Kennedy Ngetich; 1,500m: Laban Rotich,
Daniel Komen, Sammy Rono, John Kibowen; 5,000m: Paul Koech, Richard Limo,
Thomas Nyariki; 10,000m: William Kalya, Simon Maina, Elijah Lagat; 400m
hurdles: Eric Keter; 3,000 steeplechase: Wilson Boit Kipketer, Gineon
Kipngetich, John Kosgei, Bernard Barmasai, Joseph Keter; 20km walk: Julius
Kipkoech, David Rotich Kimutai; Long and Triple jump: Remmy Kimutai;
Javelin: Paul Kiprotich; Marathon: Eric Kimaiyo, Simon Lopuyet.
Women - 800m: Jebet Lagat, Gladys Wamuhu; 1,500m: Jackline Maranga,
Naomi Mugo; 5,000m: Sally Barsosio; 10,000m: Margarat Okayo, Esther
Wanjiru; Marathon: Angelina Kanana, Lucia Subano; Triple jump and
heptahhlon: Caroline Anyango Kola; 10km walks: Monica Akoth Okumu.

Kenyan world champions coming for KL '98 Games


KUALA LUMPUR, Wed. - The world-renowned Kenyans, masters over the middle
and long distance, will provide an added attraction to the Kuala Lumpur
Commonwealth Games track and field.
Three of their best 3,000m steeplechase runners have been named for the
They are world champion Wilson Boit Kipketer, world record holder
Bernard Barmasai and Olympic champion Joseph Keter.
Also in the track and field list are Japheth Kimutai, the current world
number one in the 800m, and Daniel Komen, the world 3,000m indoor
They are among the 27 men and 11 women in the athletics team to the
The Kenyans, who have dominated the middle and long distance in every
major world athletics meet, won five gold medals in the last Games in 1994
in Victoria.
"They are a force to be reckoned with and always a delight to watch them
run," said former sprint king Datuk Dr M. Jegathesan, who competed in the
1966 Jamaica Games.
Also in the list is Jackline Maranga, the 1996 World Junior silver
medallist and Paul Koech, the third fastest man in the world in the
Four-time world cross country champion Paul Tergat is injured and out of
the Games. Based on the performances, the Kenyans are likely to finish 1-
2-3 in the 3,000m steeplechase. All of them - Kipketer, Barmasai and
Keter, have clocked times far better than the rest in the field.

Nauru and Marcus aim to impress


SIZE doesn't matter.
Nauru, a tiny Pacific island, have shown that when it comes to winning
gold medals.
They were accepted as a late entry for the 1990 Auckland Games following
the intense lobbying of Sunshine Stephen and 40 others.
Nevermind that Sunshine's then 19-year-old son Marcus, a weightlifter,
was the only competitor. The young Marcus did not disappoint the island
nation taking home a gold and two silvers.
At the 1994 Victoria Games he did better, winning three gold medals. His
golds came in the bantamweight (52kg to 56kg) catetory.
His lift in the clean and jerk was 147.5, the snatch was 115kg and the
combined total was 262.5kg.
At the Kuala Lumpur Games, Marcus will be competing in the 62kg category
where he will have Kamaruzaman Jusan for company.
On the entry list sent to Sukom, Marcus stated his combined total as
310kg and looks set to dominate his category.
Marcus will be competing in the 62kg category where he will have
Malaysian Kamaruzaman Jusan for company.
Malaysia have a proud weghtlifting record, the sport giving us our first
Commonwealth gold in 1950.
It was just a year after the Thomas Cup triumph, and the four-man
weightlifting team made a name for themselves at the then British Empire
Games (later renamed the Commonwealth Games) in Auckland, New Zealand.
Featherweight Koh Eng Tong lifted the first gold and Tho Fook Hong
followed with the bantamweight gold.
Thong Saw Pak (lightweight) and Tan Kim Wee (lightheavy) added a silver
and bronze respectively.
Koh competed in the 1956 Olympics where he came in sixth - a
disappointment but no disgrace to Malaysia.
Then came Matin Guntali, who won a silver medal in the 1994 Commonwealth
Games in Victoria, and weightlifting was back in the news.
A lot has been put into the sport and now the Malaysian Weightlifting
Federation predict a three-medal haul next month. The medals are expected
to come from Abdul Rahman (56kg), Matin (56kg) and Hidayat Hamidon (69kg).
Hidayat looks good for gold, and even Nauru, who have produced capable
lifters since, have not named any lifter in that category.
The challenge is expected to come from India's Sandip Kumar and G.
Vadivelu lifted a total of 272.5kg at the Commonwealth Championships in
Nauru for the silver while Hidayat beat him to the gold.
At the national championship, Hidayat increased his total to 282.5,
which is exactly the combined weight that Vadivelu has stated on his Games
entry list.
While Malaysia, India and Nauru battle for a modest share in the lower
weight categories, the Australian lifters look set to take the lion's
share in the heavy categories.
At the Victoria Games, Australia won 14 gold and 11 silver medals in
They have retained multi-gold medal winner Kiril Kounev for the Games.
Kounev won three gold medals in the lightheavy (75-82.5kg) category at
Victoria and he will be competing in the 94kg in Kuala Lumpur.
However, Stefan Botev, has been left out because of injury.