As for the SEA Games, OCM president Tan Sri Mohamad Norza Zakaria said its Selection Committee has tightened criteria for individual athletes under Category B to be in the top six to qualify for the Games instead of top eight previously in their respective competitions. — Bernama pic
KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 29 — The Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) has tightened the criteria for athletes under Category B to participate in three major multisports games next year namely SEA Games, Commonwealth Games and Asian Games.
As for the SEA Games, OCM president Tan Sri Mohamad Norza Zakaria said its Selection Committee has tightened criteria for individual athletes under Category B to be in the top six to qualify for the Games instead of top eight previously in their respective competitions.
“To qualify as Category A, athletes must be in the top three of their respective events which is similar to the current criteria while for team sports, a team needs to be in top four to be considered under Category A,” he told a press conference today.
Also present were National Sports Council (NSC) director-general Datuk Ahmad Shapawi Ismail and OCM secretary-general Datuk Mohd Nazifuddin Mohd Najib.
Mohamad Norza said the committee would utilise competitions from 2018 to next February as the basis for selection while the deadline for entry by name for SEA Games will be on March 12, 2022.
In principle, he said, the 250 athletes who are currently in the NSC’s elite programme will form the bulk of the national contingent to the 31st SEA Games in Hanoi, Vietnam scheduled to be held from May 12-23 while 193 athletes who are in the NSC’s youth programme will also be under consideration should they meet the criteria.
He also said those who are not in the NSC programme will have the opportunity to prove themselves in the upcoming competitions to be considered for the coming SEA Games.
On the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games 2022, Mohamad Norza, who is also Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) president mentioned that instead of top 16, athletes and teams will have to be in the top eight to be considered under category B.
“For Category A, the criteria will be similar to current standard as athletes and teams will have to be in the top four,” he said adding that OCM will take into account athletes’ performances from 2018 to May 2022, including the SEA Games to be considered for both Games.
Asked on the tight criteria imposed for category B, Mohamad Norza cited that the uncertainties presented by pandemic including lack of funding and athletes safety led them to do so.
Therefore, he admitted that the chances for the national contingent to earn more medals would be tough due to the stringent criteria under Category B.
“I think we have to be prudent not only for OCM and NSC but national sports associations (NSA) as well. We need to tighten the criteria for category B as we want to maintain the quality to ensure we have a more formidable contingent,” he said.
Mohamad Norza said OCM will have another round of meeting with NSAs next February for them to present their preparation and names of athletes that will be considered to participate in three major Games’s next year instead of stating the numbers today.
Meanwhile, Ahmad Shapawi said that those 193 young athletes who are most probably under Category B will be given a chance to justify themselves via consideration from NSAs in a bid to be part of the national contingent in the SEA Games should they meet the criteria.
“Indirectly we try to give as much opportunities as possible for both categories A or B and it also depended on the funding requested from the government,” he said.
He also hoped those athletes would set SEA Games as a benchmark to secure their place in the Commonwealth Games to be held in Birmingham, United Kingdom from July 28-August 8 and Asian Games in Hangzhou, China from September 10-25.
Those who are under Category A athletes will be given full sponsorship while the cost for those under Category B will be borne by their respective NSAs. — Bernama