KUANTAN, July 5 (Bernama) -- Pahang has created a history of sorts over its selection, for the second time, as organiser of the Malaysia Games (Sukma), which will officially begin on Saturday.
Having organised the sixth edition of Sukma in 1996, it expects to successfully organise the 15th edition of Pahang Sukma.
Sukma is the main platform for athletes from all levels, including juniors, states and districts, for selection as national athletes to represent Malaysia in competitions at international level.
A total of 5,828 athletes and officers, including an invited contingent from Brunei, will help the National Sports Council (NSC) to identify potential talents which could be upgraded to a higher level.
As host, Pahang offers 369 gold medals for 24 events to be competed in 24 venues in Kuantan, Temerloh and Pekan.
Once again, defending champion Terengganu will be the focus of the competition to emerge as overall champion for the fourth consecutive edition.
Terengganu emerged overall champion when hosting the games in 2008, and then defend the title in Melaka Sukma in 2010 and Kuala Lumpur Sukma in 2011.
NSC's sports management division director Datuk Abdul Jalil Abdullah said he was confident in Pahang's ability to organise the games, in terms of infrastructures and expertise provided, and hoped athletes would not come up with any excuse, if they failed to perform well in their events.
"When it was introduced in 1986 in Kuala Lumpur, Sukma's main objective was to identify new talents.
"In this edition, NSC wants to see the improvements in the quality of the athletes before they are selected to represent the country," he told Bernama here Thursday.
Abdul Jalil, who is also Sukma Pahang Technical Committee secretary, said NFC would identify talented and disciplined athletes who could maintain the country's good name and image when competing outside the country.
He also hoped that participating athletes in the coming Sukma, had made the necessary preparations to fulfil their dreams of becoming national athletes.