MFF plea for training venue for fencers

03 Jul 2023 10:44pm
Malaysian Fencing Federation (MFF) president Rusni Abu Hassan - Facebook
Malaysian Fencing Federation (MFF) president Rusni Abu Hassan - Facebook

KUALA LUMPUR - The Malaysian Fencing Federation (MFF) accepts the decision that no fencers would be selected for the upcoming Hangzhou Asian Games contingent, but hopes it will be provided with a training venue to ensure the progress of the sport in the country.

MFF president Rusni Abu Hassan said, the federation had submitted the names of three fencers, including recent Sea Games bronze medallists to the Selection Committee, but none met the criteria to be in top four (Category A) or top six in (Category B) in Asia to persuade the Selection Committee.

"We felt there is no point of appealing because we know our fencers are not among the top in Asia. We accept the Selection Committee’s decision to tighten the criteria for Asian Games,” she told Bernama.

However, she said MFF hopes for a small support from the National Sports Council (NSC) and the Ministry of Youth and Sports to provide the fencers with a training venue.

Rusni, who is also the International Fencing Federation (FIE) executive committee member, said MFF was only receiving a few one-off financial aid for multi-sport Games participation from the NSC, since being dropped from NSC’s programme a decade ago.

The development programme ended a year after sabre fencer Yu Peng Kean qualified for the 2012 London Olympics on merit and two-year after national team delivered two gold medals at the 2011 Indonesian Sea Games, after a 22-year wait for Sea Games fencing gold.

"We were dropped from the MSN development programme in 2013, because fencing was not contested at the 2013 Myanmar Games. This was in contrast to Singapore, where their government began investing heavily in the same year.

"Now, Singapore fencing is getting about SGD1 million (about RM3.46 million) a year and have at least four coaches per discipline. I am in negotiation with foreign coaches, especially from Asian powerhouses South Korea and China to train our athletes here.

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"We understand that NSC and government probably couldn’t help in terms of finance, but we hope they can at least give us a place to train. However, I am grateful with the continuous support from NSC all these years,” she said.

Rusni hopes of having foreign coaches to help the national team change their fortunes at the upcoming Sea Games in Thailand in 2025 and Malaysia (2027), as well as in a position to qualify for the Olympics and Asian Games in future.

At the recent Cambodian Sea Games in May, Malaysia managed to bag four bronze medals, while Singapore was the best nation at the fencing venue, winning seven gold, three silver and six bronze medals, followed by Vietnam (4-3-3).

At the 2018 Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games, Malaysia was represented by seven fencers but none managed to advance to the quarter-finals. - BERNAMA