Govt, KBS, Sports, youth

Syakilla’s had enough chances, we wish her all the best, says deputy sports minister

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 27 — The Youth and Sports Ministry will wait for a report from the National Sports Council (NSC) on national karate exponent Syakilla Salni Jefry Krishnan’s sudden decision to pull out of the national squad before deciding on the next course of action.

Deputy Minister Steven Sim Chee Keong said the ministry had given enough chances for Syakilla, at one time the world’s top ranked female exponent for the under 55 kilogramme (kg) weight class, to resolve her issues.

“We thank her and wish her all the best. The Ministry always gives the best opportunities for our athletes. We must not only praise them when they bring home medals, we also must not cast them aside when they are down as well.

“Syakilla knew her limitations (in reducing her weight to qualify for the Olympics) and had come to this decision. We are still waiting for the report and will evaluate how we can improve our training process and help them (athletes) grow in their sport.

Sim was speaking to Bernama after officiating the opening of the International Sports Law Conference at the Asian International Arbitration Centre here today.

Yesterday, National Sports Council director-general Datuk Ahmad Shapawi Ismail confirmed Syakilla’s withdrawal from the Podium Programme after the 2014 Asian Games gold medallist informed her decision to quit the national squad via email. Her spot in the Philippines SEA Games squad now will be taken over by Audrey Jaypus in the above 61kg category.

According to Ahmad Shapawi, the 27-year-old did not report to training after returning from the K1 tournament in Japan, where she failed to compete after weighing above 55kg.

Syakilla has been struggling with weight problems, which caused her to miss a number of international tournaments deemed vital to earn qualification for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Asked if the ministry would still give Syakilla a chance if she wants to make a return to the national squad, Sim said: “I think this is not about coming in and then withdrawing according to whims and fancy.

“In any case, we have a process to follow when it comes to managing training and performances, so we will wait for the NSC report.

Sim, however, welcomed Syakilla to seek advice and consultation under the NSC’s Malaysian Athlete Career and Education (MACE) programme established to prepare national athletes for their future wellbeing. — Bernama

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