Cabinet Approves RM240 Million To Revive Podium Programme From 2022 To 2025

The Ministry of Youth and Sports will also review the contracts of several athletes who were dropped from the elite programme earlier this year due to budget constraints.

Cover image via Firdaus Latif/Malay Mail & AFP/The Borneo Post

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Some good news for national athletes — the Podium Programme has been allocated RM240 million to continue running for the next four years

Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu announced that the Cabinet has agreed to allocate the new budget to prepare the national contingent to face several major games from 2022 to 2025.

"The government will provide RM60 million a year and the budget will be listed under the 12th Malaysia Plan," he announced in a statement on Wednesday, 23 February.

"We thank the Cabinet for accepting this proposal that has come after consultation with the athletes and other concerned stakeholders."

Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu.

Image via Firdaus Latif/Malay Mail

Faizal said the ministry will also review the contracts of several athletes who were dropped from the elite programme earlier this year due to budget constraints

"We have heard the grievances of the athletes whose contracts were not renewed, as well as the opinions of Malaysian sports supporters and the leadership of sports associations," he said, as quoted by New Straits Times.

Among the major games the athletes are looking forward to in the next four years include:
– Hanoi SEA Games: 12 May to 23 May 2022
– Birmingham Commonwealth Games: 28 July to 8 August 2022
– Hangzhou Asian Games: 10 September to 25 September 2022
– Asian Para Games: 9 October to 15 October 2022
– Paris Olympics and Paralympic Games: 2024

The Malaysian contingent at the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics opening ceremony.

Image via Olympic Council of Malaysia

Meanwhile, the minister also announced that the Malaysian Games (Sukma) and Para Sukma Games will be held in Kuala Lumpur this year — the first time since 2018 due to the pandemic

"The Sukma and Para Sukma Games will be conducted using a sports bubble model to ensure that the health and safety of all involved are safeguarded," Faizal said.

Expecting a total of 12,000 people to be involved, he said the games will be conducted in two phases to ensure that the number of athletes and officials participating will be controlled.

However, the dates for the games have yet to be finalised. According to Faizal, it will be held either in the middle or in the second half of the year.

He said the games will utilise pre-existing infrastructure used during the 2017 SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur and is expected to cost about RM35 to RM40 million.

In January, the National Sports Council (NSC) announced a cut of several full-time athletes due to lack of funding from Budget 2022:

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