Saturday, June 14, 2014

Muscle men off to Mongolia

MALAYSIA, after almost two months of intensive training, are looking forward to an impressive outing in the Asian Tug-of-War Championships in Alaan Baatar, Mongolia, on June 14-15.

Malaysian Tug of War Association (MTWA) president Datuk Osman Salleh 21-member contingent to the championships.

“Malaysia will be taking part in two events — men’s 600kg (indoor) and men’s 640kg (outdoor) — and based on our preparations we are looking forward to the championships with confidence.

“The athletes are training full time. Most of them are from the Police force. We are happy with their progress and in training,’’ said Osman after visiting the squad’s training session in Cheras.

The athletes were selected based on their performance in local competitions.

The MTWA organises about five competitions annually. There are about 10 clubs active in tug of war in Malaysia.

They also organise regular inter-club championships. The higher learning institutions have also taken a keen interest in the sport.

Osman said the Police have also been promoting tug of war and have inter-department competitions.

“Most of the athletes in the current training squad are from the Police force. There were some impressive athletes from clubs but they were unable to join the training programme,’’ added Osman.

Under the watchful eyes of coach Harun Hassan, the training sessions are held thrice a day. Besides tug of war training, the athletes’ training programme includes weight training and endurance runs.

Harun said the training sessions were tough as the athletes have to be physically strong for the challenge in Mongolia.

“There is no place for the light-hearted. They have to take the training sessions seriously and go through them. We are pleased with the commitment shown by the athletes,’’ said Harun.

The championships, 10th in the series, has attracted nine countries. Besides Malaysia, the other countries, taking part in the championships, are Taiwan, Mongolia, South Korea, Iran, Thailand, Hong Kong, Macau, and China.

Taiwan are the defending champions while Japan were the runners-up. Malaysia finished third last year. Japan are not taking part this year.

Osman said China were taking part in the championships for the first time.

“We are now aware of their strength. Taiwan are currently the best team in the world. They have included tug of war as part of their programmes in schools. Their club system is also impressive.

“It will be difficult for other teams to match them. In the absence of Japan, we have a bright chance of being on podium. It could be the second or third spot,’’ said Osman.

The Asian Tug of War Federation will also be having their annual congress during the championships. Osman and S. Sathiah will be Malaysia’s delegates at the congress.

Osman said the main topic would be including tug of war as an event in the SEA Games.

“It was part of the Olympics before the World War Two. Now we want to gather support from the Asean countries to include tug of war in the SEA Games,’’ added Osman.

The contingent: Datuk Osman Salleh, S. Sathiah, Harun Hassan, Abdul Rashid Junus, Zainudin Ahmad, R. Sitaraman, Shuberi Osman, Lorencius Viatus, Norisyam Tuh, Marseli Lorin, Herman Hassan, Asngari Hisham, Carl Lewis, Mohd Khairul Hafiz Mohtar, Walter Laiwon, Daud Ansaning, Mohd Hasham Redzuan, Mohd Firdaus Ramli, Lim Boo Chang, Lim Khai Sian, Ayub Shafil.

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