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Sandakan centre a boon for Sabah sports

Published on: Monday, April 14, 2014

Sandakan: Sabah Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Tawfiq Abu Bakar Titingan is confident that the establishment of a National Sports Institute (NSI) satellite centre in Sandakan will help produce more Sabah athletes in the international arena.

He said the communities in Sandakan, Kinabatangan, Beluran, Tongod and Telupid would benefit from the centre, without having the need to travel all the way to the Kota Kinabalu to enjoy such facilities.

"The NSI satellite centre in Sandakan began operations in August last year and is the 10th of 16 such institutes nationwide.

"The function of NSI is to gauge the capability of athletes as well as to raise and maintain their fitness level," he said at the launching ceremony of the NSI satellite centre in Sandakan by Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin Sunday.

According to him, the services available at the centre included various physiological exercises for fitness test and assist athlete physiological recovery as well as sports psychology to build mental strength.

Meanwhile, the NSI's third satellite centre for Sabah will be set up in Tawau next year. Khairy said increasing the centres in Sabah was part of efforts to improve the performance of its athletes and to produce more back-up athletes from the state.

"With an addition to the two NSI satellite centres in Sabah, namely in Kota Kinabalu and Sandakan, the best methods will always be sought to prepare athletes based on sports science, medicine and technology.

"Moreover, Sabah is a large state," he said when officially opening the Sandakan NSI Satellite Centre.

Also present was NSI chief executive officer Datuk Dr Ramlan Abdul Aziz.

Khairy, who is also Umno Youth chief, expressed confidence that Sabah's young had the physical and mental attributes to achieve success in sports.

He said this was because Sabah had since long ago proven to have produced athletes who could compete internationally, like Datuk Gabuh Piging who represented North Borneo then (Sabah) in triple jump at the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne, Australia.

Sabah was also involved in football development and had produced back-up players under the National Sports Council's programme, he added.

"Under the national football development plan, I will ensure that each district in Sabah will have an Akademi Tunas for the young aged seven to 12 years and a District Training Centre (for those aged 13-17) by 2020.

"Sabah has a lot of talents but still lagging in terms of sports facilities, especially in the interior areas."

He said currently, there were only two Akademi Tunas and one District Training Centre in Sabah.