Besides the athletes, those behind the scenes such as capable coaches and officials who prove themselves will be absorbed into the Government’s coaching and technical schemes for grooming.
“This will help fill the present void in the areas of coaching and officials involving sportswomen in the country,” said Sports Minister, Dato’ Seri Azalina Othman Said at the soft launch of the NWG at the National Sports Council (NSC) yesterday.
The Games are organized by the Women’s Sports Fitness Foundation Malaysia (WSFFM), the NSC and the Sports Ministry.
“The Ministry always gets complaints that there are not enough women officials in the country.
A sports culture involves not only being an athlete, but also those in the background who put it all together to ensure success,” said Azalina.
“Being a coach is not easy as it requires a sound knowledge of the sport and a lot of experience is needed.
“So the NWG will be an avenue of opportunities for everyone involved.” This year’s NWG will only retain two sports (athletics and netball) from the first edition, and introduce 10 — beach volleyball, canoe/ kayaking, chess, golf, lawn bowls, sepaktakraw, silat, table tennis, triathlon and weightlifting.
Azalina said: ‘I’m especially excited about sepaktakraw and weightlifting. When I was in Doha (for the Asian Games), everyone was asking how come Malaysia did not have a sepaktakraw team when even China fielded one at the Games.
“Sepaktakraw was made in Malaysia and we must capitalise on it. We decided then to scrap the eight core sports as these sports already have a good development base, and focus on other sports which can bring us medals at the regional and world arena,” said Azalina.
WSFFM executive director S. Shamala added that though entries for the Games close only on April 15, 12 teams had already registered for sepaktakraw, 30 for netball and a staggering 500 for chess.
Apart from the 13 States, the Games are also open to the corporate sector this year, and to Malaysian women of all ages.
“The youngest athlete last year was aged three, and the oldest was 55,” said Shamala, who confirmed that the WSFFM is discussing the possibility of sending podium finishers from each sport for exchange programmes overseas.