THE National Silat Association (Pesaka) are still in the dark over the financing of their exponents for the Games. Silat will be a demonstration sport in South Korea and will likely make their debut as a medal sport in four years time.
Pesaka secretary Megat Zulkarnain Datuk Omar Din said they have written to the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) asking them for funds but to date, have yet to receive a reply. "We have been depending solely on the goodwill of the National Sports Council (NSC) for all our needs," said Zulkarnain.
"They are funding our development project for the 2006 Asiad and all our current needs for the coming Games.
"NSC in fact will also help us to host the World Championships in December. "But since we will be competing in this year's Asian Games - although as a demonstration sport - I think it is only right for OCM to give us an answer as quickly as possible." Zulkarnain admitted he is not very sure what the procedure for funding is when it comes to exhibition sports, but said that both the Singapore and Indonesian exponents are fully funded by their respective Olympic Councils.
"The Indonesian exponents, in fact, will get the same privileges as the athletes who will contest for medals," said Zulkarnain. "All we are asking is for the OCM to let us know if they will pay for our exponents.
If not, we will have to search for sponsors." He added that Pesaka are confident of delivering at least three gold medals in four years time. This, he said, is why it is important to send the exponents to Busan. "How many sports can confidently predict three gold medals?" he asked. "Not many I can tell you.
Three gold medals will surely boost Malaysia's overall standings and we at Pesaka are willing to predict it. "We are only sending eight exponents to Busan to compete in seven events (five in the olahraga and three in three in the seni division).
But in four years time, there will be 20 gold medals at stake. "Of the 20, we feel our exponents can bring home at least three gold medals, and that is not counting the other medals which we could win as well." But for now, Zulkarnain said the exponents will continue to train as usual until the final list of exponents is decided on Sept 30.
Written by GRAIG NUNIS
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