KUALA NERUS, Terengganu are counting down to an optimistic top podium finish as the East Coast state plans to participate in 36 of the 37 sports events contested at the Sarawak Malaysia Games (Sukma) in August next year.

At the 2022 Sukma in Kuala Lumpur, Terengganu emerged as runners-up after amassing 64 gold, 49 silver and 55 bronze medals, to finish behind champions Johor (77 gold-52-43).

Terengganu Youth, Sports and Non-Governmental Organisations Development Committee chairman Hishamuddin Abdul Karim said it included 28 compulsory events (which includes swimming, diving and gymnastics) and nine optional sports of chess, e-sports, kabaddi, cricket, muaythai, pentanque, silambam, softball and boxing.

“The Terengganu Sukma contingent will participate in all the events contested except basketball for certain reasons,” he said here today at the assembly of the Terengganu Sukma contingent bound for the XXl Sarawak Games in 2024.

Also present was Terengganu State Sports Council (MSNT) director Shahrizal Yahya.

Hishamuddin said that currently about 700 athletes are undergoing phase two training which focuses on the participation of athletes in competitions here in the country or abroad.

According to him, 35 per cent of the state’s 700 athletes had competed at the 2022 Sukma while the rest were new faces.

“The effectiveness of the selection of new athletes to undergo intensive training and fill two-thirds of the vacancies left by older athletes is a key factor in determining the success of the Terengganu contingent at next year’s Sukma.

“The period of 255 days leading up to Sukma is the best time to streamline and seriously implement the strategies that we have outlined,” he said.

Hishamuddin also suggested that the coaching staff will be more thorough in the aspect of selecting competitions abroad in order to match the needs and competitive level of the athletes, especially the gold medal prospects.

He said that in the third phase, the state Sukma squad’s participation in national championships will be reduced to ensure that capable athletes are not poached by other state teams.

“All parties need to ensure that the athletes’ morale and performance are always at their prime for us to regain the title of Sukma champion next year,” he said.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency