Sarawak on track in bid to get all athletes vaccinated

Abdul Karim (third from right) visiting the Curtin University Malaysia PPV in Miri on Tuesday.

MIRI: Sarawak is on track to complete the vaccination of athletes, coaches and sports officials, including those currently training in the Peninsular.

This was disclosed by Sarawak Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah during a press conference after his visit to the Curtin University Malaysia vaccination centre (PPV) here.

“Thirty-three of our athletes are currently training outside Sarawak, including footballers from Kuching City Football Club and Sarawak United Football Club, while another 12, who are under 18 years old, are still awaiting approval from the Ministry of Health  for vaccination.

“We are still on track in our bid to get all 808 athletes, coaches and sports officials vaccinated as we prepare for next year’s Malaysia Games (Sukma) hosted by Johor,” said Abdul Karim, who is also Sarawak Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister.

Presently, the Sarawak Sports Corporation (SSC) and Sarawak Sports Council have successfully secured the vaccination of 472 athletes, coaches and sports officials while another 240 athletes are still in the process, including 207 who are under 18.

The first vaccination was held in Kuching on June 28, involving 154 athletes, coaches and sports officials while the second was held in Sibu on July 7 with 35 athletes.

The third phase in Miri involved 49 athletes and coaches from various sports, including rugby, squash, archery, athletics, hockey, sailing, wushu, football, sepak takraw, esports, silat, beach volleyball, volleyball and badminton.

In total, 135 athletes and 15 coaches from Miri were involved but 54 of them had already received their first jabs through the MySejahtera appointment while the rest are under 18.

Sarawak is still the first in the country to undertake the initiative – a strategy to protect the athletes from Covid-19 as well as to ensure that their training and preparations are not interrupted.

“Our heartfelt thanks to all the frontliners at PPVs here for facilitating the vaccination process,” said Abdul Karim, who was accompanied by Sarawak Transport Minister Datuk Lee Kim Shin, who is also minister in charge of Miri Divisional Disaster Management Committee, and Assistant  Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Sebastian Ting.

On another note, Abdul Karim revealed that the Sukma Special Technical Committee had agreed to raise the age limit to 23.

“As you all know, Sukma is an Under-21 competition and because of the pandemic, they had previously delayed the event to 2022, so they have made some changes to the age limit.”

Also present were the acting permanent secretary to the Sarawak Youth and Sports Ministry, Nancy Jolhi;  Miri Resident  Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusuf, SSC chief executive officer Dr Ong Kong Swee and Curtin University Malaysia chief operating officer Ir Pieter Willem Pottas.