Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Sportcheck: No pull-out from Youth Games

THE Sports Ministry is now taking calculated risks in facing the threat of the A (H1N1) virus and the need for exposure and competition abroad.
As of yesterday, Sports Minister Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek said yesterday there was no reason for Malaysia to pull out of the Asian Youth Games, which officially begins in Singapore on Monday.

"A decision can be made at any time. If we feel the situation in any country becomes a danger to our athletes, we can immediately bring them back, even in the midst of competition," said Ahmad Shabery.

Up to yesterday, four positive cases involving footballers competing in the Asian Youth Games -- three from Hong Kong and a Filipino -- had been identified and their entire teams quarantined by health officials in Singapore.

News agencies also reported 26 other cases locally in Singapore, half the number of positive cases reported in Malaysia.
"Even our own people are affected at home, so this is not about not going abroad to compete, but instead about taking precautionary measures for which we are working closely with the National Sports Institute (NSI)," added Ahmad Shabery.

"The NSI has been providing guidelines for all athletes on preventive measures and all our athletes know exactly what they have to do. It is also a personal effort to contain the spread of H1N1."

Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) deputy president Datuk Dr M. Jegathesan, acting as Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) medical committee chairman, had on Monday chaired a meeting in Singapore which reviewed the status of the outbreak in the city state.

"As of now, we're monitoring it closely but there's no serious indication that there's a need to cancel or postpone the games," said Jegathesan.

"The precautionary measures taken by the organisers are quite convincing. Those involved in the games even go through breath tests at their hotels twice a day as part of screening measures.

"So far, the positive cases of people involved in the Games have been identified through these measures, and these are cases where athletes contracted the virus in their own countries and not in Singapore."

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