Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem has called on Sarawakians to be gracious host for this year’s Malaysian Games (Sukma) but at the same time give stiff competition to their competitors.
He said Sarawak were Sukma overall champions for three times in a row from 1990, when Sukma was first hosted by Sarawak, until 1994.
“As you all know, Sukma has a long story that started in 1986 with the objective of scouting new talents and fostering unity. It showcased the best pool of athletes aged 21 years and below.
“I hope Sarawak athletes can repeat this history (of emerging as overall champions) since we have home ground advantage. I know you will be able to do it.
“We, as the host, will be a gracious host, but on the field of competition, we will give you stiff competition. As I’ve told the athletes, be a gracious host, but give them hell when they are on the field of competition,” he said.
He also quoted legendary US athlete Jesse Owens, who had once said that ‘friendship born in field of athletics are the real gold medal’.
Sukma 2016 was declared open by Yang Di-pertua Negeri Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud. Also present were federal Minister of Youth and Sports Khairy Jamaluddin, Minister of Youth and Sports and Solidarity Dato Sri Michael Manyin Jawong, Perlis Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Azlan Man, Brunei Culture, Youth and Sports Minister Pehin Dato Paduka Seri Awang Hasbi Yussof and representatives of the respective state governments.
Meanwhile, Khairy said the federal government was looking at Sarawak to take the lead in realising the mission to make Malaysia a sporting nation.
“This (Sukma) is just the beginning. This is where we plant the seeds of success for the future. We want Malaysia to be a sporting nation, and I cannot think of other states most eligible to take the lead in this mission. It is none other than Sarawak, which is this year’s host of the Malaysian Games,” he said.
On behalf of the federal government, Khairy praised the commitment shown by Sarawak to ensure 2016 Sukma is well run and organised.
“Once again, Sarawak has shown the best of what it is to be Malaysia. The unity in diversity that is the unity of the Sarawak people, a true sporting state, and a true example of what is to be 1Malaysia. Congratulations and ‘syabas’ to Sarawak.”
He called on the athletes to make Sukma as their springboard to excellence and to realise Malaysia’s dream to win its first gold at the Olympics. Both Adenan and Khairy also gave special mention to State Secretary Tan Sri Datuk Amar Morshidi Abdul Ghani, who is 2016 Sukma organising chairman, and his team for their efforts to ensure the smooth running of the Games.