Photo: Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR: The national athletics squad is still waiting for the green light from the National Sports Council (MSN) before they could resume training in preparation for several qualifying tournaments for the Tokyo 2021 Olympics next year.

National athletics chief coach, Mohd Manshahar Abd Jalil said coaches have not received any confirmation from the MSN even though Malaysian Athletics Federation (MAF) president, Datuk S M Muthu had recently said that the national squad would resume training on July 1.

At the moment, the facilities at the National Sports Complex in Bukit Jalil are only opened for athletes involved in the Road To Tokyo (RTT) centralised training camp programme which will end on June 30.

“As of now, we are still waiting for the green light from the MSN before our athletes are allowed to resume their training in Bukit Jalil.

“We need to be certain since the MSN did not issue any directive, therefore, our athletes cannot resume their training as usual at their respective places,” he told Bernama when contacted here today.

Meanwhile, Mohd Manshahar described the recent statement by national high jumper Lee Hup Wei who expressed the latter’s disappointment for not being listed in the RTT programme, as his personal view but he understands the Selangor-born athlete’s situation.

“He (Lee) had contacted me and expressed his disappointment for not being able to take part in the programme but he must understand that the selection was made based on merit.

“Only selected sports are allowed to resume training in accordance with the stipulated standard operating procedure set by the MSN to curb the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Lee still has the opportunity to qualify for the Tokyo Olympic Games as there are still several qualifying tournaments scheduled for early next year,” he explained.

To date, no athlete from the national athletics squad has qualified on merit for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. – Bernama