Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Check With Health Ministry Before Sending Athletes To Thailand - OCM

KUALA LUMPUR, April 29 (Bernama) -- The Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) wants the authorities to check with the Health Ministry before sending athletes to Thailand.

Concerned with reports that swine flu that has claimed about 152 deaths worldwide had also been reported in Thailand, the OCM urged those involved in the 1st Asian Martial Arts Games 2009 from June 6-14 to check with the Health Ministry before planning their trips.

OCM Honorary Secretary Datuk Sieh Kok Chi said if the condition in Thailand is reason for concern, there is every possibility that the Malaysian contingent might be withdrawn from Games.

"We must give priority to the safety of our athletes because they are our country's asset," he told Bernama here today.

However, if the condition improves quickly, then there should be no problem but still it would be wise to seek advise from the Ministry before making any moves, he said.

Apart from Thailand, he also urged athletes to stay away from countries known to have been affected by the swine flu.

"For the time being, athletes should remain in the country as Malaysia is free from the swine flu," he said.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) had warned of possible pandemic of the swine flu worldwide after the disease spread to several countries from its outbreak epicentre in Mexico where at least 152 deaths had occurred.

The Games, expected to feature 45 countries under the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) in nine martial art sports, would host taekwondo, kickboxing, karate, muay thai, jujitsu, judo, kurash, wushu and pencak silat.

As for the Malaysian contingent, only the Malaysian Pencak Silat Association (Pesaka) and the Malaysian Amateur Karate Federation (Makaf) had decided to send their exponents for the Games.


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