File Photo: Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Athletics Federation (MAF) is not going to jeopardise the safety and well-being of its athletes by organising any competitions before the Covid-19 pandemic fully settles down.

As much as the athletes and officials want to get back in action in the wake of the movement control order (MCO) to contain the pandemic, which led to cancellation of meets, safety will be the utmost priority for MAF.

MAF president, Datuk SM Muthu said the federation will only start to host competitions upon getting the green light from the Health Ministry, even if the MCO is lifted on April 28.

“For now, the athletes are only doing light training at their homes. After missing training and competitions close to a month now, it will take time for them to get back their fitness. No competitions till we are fully free of this virus,” he said when contacted by Bernama.

Malaysian track and field athletes are expected to rely on domestic competitions due to the ongoing travel restrictions and lockdowns imposed by many countries.

Meanwhile, Muthu said the postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics to July next year opens up chances for Malaysian athletics athletes to book their berths for the world’s biggest multisport games.

“Before this, we did not see any of our athletes really close to the qualification mark, with the one-year extension, we hope to see about three athletes to be in the run for Tokyo berths.

“Our athletes now have extra one year to put in their effort and work hard towards their Olympics goal. Next year will be crucial since we will also have the SEA Games apart from the Olympics,” he said.

Last week, World Athletics had suspended all Olympics qualifications till Nov 30 and announced that the Olympic qualifications window will resume on Dec 1, whereby the deadline is set for May 31, 2021 for 50km race walkers and marathoners, while June 29 for other all athletes. – Bernama