Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Association wants more local runners

THE Federal Territory Amateur Athletics Association (FTAAA) will continue to bar foreigners, without PR status, from road races.

FTAAA secretary S. Vegiyathuman said they were happy with the high number of participants for the Kuala Lumpur City Day 10km Run at the Dataran Merdeka recently.

“Our aim is to encourage more local runners to take part as well as win the prizes.

Unfortunately some selfish people have taken advantage and roped in foreign participants for their own financial gain.

We have to stop the unsporting practice.

“The KL City Day Run was the first event we had implemented the ruling. We will continue to bar foreign participants, without PR status, from our future events as well,’’ said Vegiyathuman.

About 3,000 participants took part in the run which was organised in conjunction with the City Day celebrations. Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) director-general Datuk Salleh Yusup flagged off the run.

Vegiyathuman said the run was organised at a minimal cost and T-shirts were not provided to the participants.

“We are now looking into ways to promote running as an healthy activity. Monetary gain should not be the priority. We are happy with the big number of participants from primary schools. We hope the teachers, who had accompanied the primary school pupils, will continue to coach and guide them,’’ said Vegiyathuman.

However, Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) secretary Datuk Sieh Kok Chi felt that the FTAAA should allow participants from Singapore and Thailand to take part in the road races.

“The participants from the two countries were regulars in road races in Malaysia. They would be able to give some competition to our local runners,’’ said Sieh.

Mark Williams, who is with the Alice Smith International School, won the men’s Open category. He completed the run in a time of 36:32 while Malaysians M. Arul Thevar and P. Subramaniam were second and third in 36:32 and 36:41 respectively.

In the women’s open category, China-born Yuan Yufang, who has represented Malaysia in international meets like the SEA Games, Asian Games, Commonwealth Games and Olympics, clocked 43:58 to finish as the winner. Michelle Tan was second in 45:41, while Hayley Holle was third in 46:44.

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