Friday, September 20, 2013

No Plans To Host Islamic Solidarity Games - Khairy

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 18 (Bernama) -- The Youth and Sports Ministry has no plans to host the Islamic Solidarity Games in the near future.

Its Minister, Khairy Jamaluddin said the ministry on the other hand was now giving top priority to hosting the 2017 SEA Games which was seen as bringing more benefits to athletes and sports in the country.

"Our priority is to host the 2017 SEA Games as it is our turn. The Cabinet will be deciding on the SEA Games soon to enable us make the preparation.

"Considering the SEA Games is a huge event, it requires time for preparation...therefore for the time being, there is no plans to host the Islamic Solidarity Games but I do not rule out the possibility one day we could become host for the games," he said.

He was speaking to reporters after a flag handing over ceremony to the head of the national contingent to the 3rd Islamic Solidarity Games in Palembang, Indonesia, Datuk Megat Zulkarnain Omar Din, here Wednesday.

Touching on the games, Khairy hoped the national contingent would improve on its five gold medal haul from the 2005 games in Saudi Arabia.

"Our target this time is based on athlete selection as well as the sports in competition but I am confident we are strong in karate, aquatics and wushu to deliver the gold medals," he said.

A total of 137 athletes will be competing at the games involving 43 Islamic countries from Sept 22 to Oct 1.

The national contingent will be taking part in 10 out of 13 sports including athletics, swimming, archery, badminton, karate, taekwondo, tennis, beach volleyball, weightlifting and wushu.

Malaysia will not be participating in football, basketball and indoor volleyball.

The second ISG scheduled in Tehran, Iran in 2010 was cancelled by the Islamic Solidarity Sports Federation when the host nation failed to provide the appropriate facilities.

The idea of the games was brought up at Organisation Of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Summit in Putrajaya in 2003 which was agreed by 57 member countries.

-- BERNAMA

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