JOHOR BAHRU (6 JULY 2020): Preparations are currently underway by the organizers of SUKMA XX Johor to ensure that all venues are ready before the start of the biennial games which is expected to be held in the first quarter of year 2021.
Despite the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic across the nation and the Movement Control Order (MCO) enacted on 18th March, SUKMA XX Johor’s secretariat remained committed in their efforts to ensure that all preparations are continued and meet the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) set in regards to the COVID-19.
Earlier today the Youth and Sports Minister, Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican conducted an official visit to SUKMA XX Johor venues – the Larkin Aquatic Centre, Larkin Arena Indoor Stadium, and the Tan Sri Dato’ Haji Hassan Yunos Stadium – and was pleased with what he saw.
“Based on my observations, preparations for SUKMA XX Johor are 95 to 97 per cent complete and pretty much in order. Almost all venues are nearing completion. For example the Larkin Aquatic Centre is currently just lacking a warm-up pool which can be completed in less than a month,” he said today.
“As we are in the recovery stage of the Movement Control Order which will end on 31st August, we will have a meeting soon to determine further SOPs. However, the SOPs implemented during the RMCO will be used as guidelines for us when organizing SUKMA XX next year,” Datuk Seri Reezal added.
Johor Tourism, Youth and Sports Committee chairman Datuk Onn Hafiz Ghazi added, “Despite the postponement of SUKMA XX Johor due to the COVID-19 pandemic, preparations for the games have never stopped. Our focus remains on successfully hosting SUKMA XX Johor – our first since 1992 – hence ensuring all aspects related to the games are of the highest quality.”
Kumpulan Prasarana Rakyat Johor Sdn Bhd (KPRJ), a leading property and sports developer in Johor, was handed the task of refurbishing new and existing sporting facilities with the aim of upgrading them into venues of world class standard.
“Given that the facilities are now compliant with the latest international standards, Johor is now ready to host a new era of world class sports competition as well be a beacon for national and international non-sporting events,” said KPRJ chief executive officer Datuk Mohd Noorazam Osman.
“Ultimately it all depends on the conditions come March 2021 – the proposed new dates for SUKMA XX Johor. But we are equipped to meet any SOPs or guidelines introduced. Safety is our number one priority as we also strive for a top-notch organization of the SUKMA games in our beloved state,” added Tuan Haji ‘On bin Jabbar, chief executive officer of Sports Johor Sdn. Bhd. – a subsidiary of KPRJ.
According to the SUKMA XX Johor venue progression report which was released on 16th June, almost 90 per cent of the 39 selected venues are ready to be used for the upcoming Games without any hitches.
The main focus will be on the stadium being used for track and field events at Johor Sports Complex. It was one of the earliest to receive the Certificate of Completion and Compliance (CCC) and gain its status as a certified venue for SUKMA XX on 17th February.
Meanwhile, the Larkin Aquatic Centre, which will showcase swimming, diving, and water polo is now 99.72 per cent complete and is in the midst of gaining approval from the official bodies after successfully meeting the official regulations and requirements.
The Velodrome Johor, the state’s latest sporting landmark, constructed in Iskandar Puteri is now 97.59 per cent ready after work on it started on 28th February 2019.
Also, a new venue known as the Arena Emas was proposed and built for archery, squash, petanque and lawn bowl is now 97.59 per cent complete. Work for the said venue was started on 15th February 2019.
As for badminton, the newly refurbished Larkin Arena Indoor Stadium will open its doors for fans to catch all top emerging talents battling for gold. Work on the new-look Larkin Arena started on 19th September 2017 and is now 98.88 percent complete.
A total of 32 sports, including 16 compulsory sports, 15 optional sports and one demonstration sport (silambam), will be contested at SUKMA XX Johor.
SUKMA XX will be held in three districts – Johor Baru hosting the bulk of the programme with 28 events, Muar will be hosting three (canoeing, weightlifting and silambam) while Kota Tinggi will host the remaining two – cruise and bike riding.