Penang Sukma athletes ready to roll again


AFTER a fairly long lockdown, the Penang Sukma athletes have bounced back onto the tracks today to resume their training.


There was a spring in their steps as they went about loosening up their muscles and getting into their stride at the Seberang Perai City Council (MBSP) Sports and Recreational Complex in Jalan Betek, Bukit Mertajam.


Penang Youth and Sports Committee chairman Soon Lip Chee recently announced that all athletes under the Penang State Sports Council (MSNPP) could resume training from June 18 following the reopening of sports facilities based on the guidelines given by the National Security Council (MKN).


For long distance runner Rosmaria Rindiana Rosli Raju, 16, she returned with renewed vigour and commitment.

Long distance runner Rosmaria Rindiana Rosli Raju, 16,

“This is the moment I’ve been waiting for. When I heard the announcement that I could resume training with my friends, I was so happy.


“It was not easy for me after I wasn’t able to do any workout with my friends during the early days of movement control order (MCO).


“I feel a bit awkward now since I need to train while adapting with the new norms, such as maintaining social distancing and no physical contact. But, I am getting used to it,” she told Buletin Mutiara at the sports complex today.


For middle distance runner Lee Xin Yee,16, the implementation of MCO from March 18 was not an excuse for her to lose her fitness level.

Middle distance runner Lee Xin Yee,16,

“During the early days of MCO, I took my own initiative to retain my fitness level with some rigorous exercises.


“My exercises included planking, push-ups and jogging on the spot at my balcony.


“They were fun and effective as well. So, I do not experience any drop in stamina when the training resumes,” she said.


Another middle distance runner Lee Xin Mei, 17, said during the MCO, her coach had provided fitness modules for her to maintain her fitness level.

Middle distance runner Lee Xin Mei, 17,

“I just followed the modules. Each module would take me about an hour to finish. And I usually completed two modules every day.


“We also have our own group chat where we can express any problem that we encountered and our coaches would try their best to help us.


“Now that we can resume training, I will train even harder to qualify for the upcoming Sukma (Malaysia Games),” Xin Mei said.


MSNPP track and field coach Olesya Gasparyan, 34, said she had prepared different types of modules during MCO for her students to ensure that they all stay fit.

MSNPP track and field coach Olesya Gasparyan, 34,

“When all types of sport activities were banned during the MCO initially, my modules would basically focus on the muscle memory and fitness strength.


“This was important to maintain their fitness at the highest level.


“I also monitored their progress closely through our group chat,” said Gasparyan, who has served MSNPP for three years.


Gasparyan said she was happy that all the athletes could now resume their training.


“We also will ensure that everyone follows the standard operating procedures (SOPs) to minimise the risk of Covid-19 transmission among our athletes.


“What I plan to do for the first two weeks is that all the track and field athletes will undergo a light-intensity training session first before moving on to the high-intensity interval training. This is to allow them to regain their pace after the long break from training,” she added.


Soon said the state government, through MSNPP, would continue to ensure that all the sport facilities in the state are in the best condition.

Soon (left) having a friendly discussion with Gasparyan (right)

“We want our athletes to be comfortable when they resume their training and also when preparing themselves for Sukma.


“I also urge all coaches and athletes to follow all the SOP’s provided to avoid the virus infection,” said Soon, who visited the sports complex this morning.


He was accompanied by MSNPP director Harry Chai Heng Hua.


The visit was to give some morale support and also to observe the SOP compliance at the facility.


Johor, which was supposed to hold the 20th edition of Sukma in July this year, will now host it in March next year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Story by Riadz Akmal
Pix by Noor Siti Nabilah Noorazis