Friday, February 13, 2015

Podium Programme Prepares Best Athletes For 2020 Olympics, Treated Like Stars - Khairy

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 12 (Bernama) -- The nation's top athletes chosen for the Podium Programme stand to be treated like the world's sports stars, with all their physical needs taken care of.

The Podium Programme is a sports development programme to prepare the nation's best athletes for the Olympic Games 2020 in Tokyo, Japan, and is an extension to the 'Road to Rio" project.

Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said the Podium Programme would not involve many athletes and would also not just focus on the 19 main sports.

"National athletes not from among the main sports but capable of bringing glory to Malaysia at the world stage will be included in the programme, under the supervision of the National Sports Institute (NSI).

"They will be a selected group if they get into this programme, and will be treated like world champions," he told reporters after tabling the New Malaysian Sports Module, here, today.

Khairy said the ministry was hopeful that the national badminton squad under the 'Road to Rio' programme could give Malaysia its first Olympic gold medal at the Olympic Games 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

"We have a better chance, obviously, in Tokyo because by then the Podium Programme will be much more mature in terms of implementation. If we take a short time towards Rio, I can tell you that our chances and hope for a gold medal is still with badminton.

"I don't think there's a gold medal prospect in other sports at the moment for the Rio Games unless their athletes show extraordinary performance.

"But given a bit more time ahead of the Tokyo Olympics, we can find the gold medal hope in other sports as we don't want to go on placing our hope on badminton only," he said.

In his speech earlier, Khairy said the Podium Programme, thoroughly planned, detailed and implemented by the NSI, was contained in the New Malaysian Sports Module under the restructuring of the National Sports Council and NSI.

The athletes selected for this programme will be assisted painstakingly in terms of diet and nutrition, facilities, sports science and training, that is specifically drawn up for each athlete and group.


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