Le Tour de Langkawi set for comeback next year

SEPANG: Le Tour de Langkawi (LTdL) is set to make a return next year after the 2021 edition was derailed by the COVID-19 pandemic, said Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu.

He expressed confidence that the organisers of the elite Asian cycling race were prepared to stage the event although no dates had been fixed yet.

He also confirmed that Human Voyage (M) Sdn Bhd, which has a three-year contract to organise the event from 2019, would continue to stage the 2022 race after the 2021 edition had to be cancelled because of the pandemic.

“I hope there will be no major obstacles next year and that the organisers are also prepared to hold LTdL 2022 in a big way throughout the country. The ministry is prepared to provide allocations.

“We have a contract with the organisers. The event was not held last year, so we have to fulfil the contract,” he told reporters at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport today after sending off participants to the Mobile Legends: Bang Bang (MLBB) M3 World Championship in Singapore.

Malaysian National Cycling Federation (MNCF) president Datuk Abu Samah Wahab said last week that the Union of Cycling International (UCI) had offered dates for the LTdL next year, with 16 teams said to be keen in participating.

According to the UCI website, LTdL is listed to be held on Jan 16-23.

LTdL has been held every year since 1996, including the silver jubilee edition which was staged in February 2020 just before the pandemic struck in March.

When asked on the Olympic Council of Malaysia’s (OCM) proposal to set up an organisation comprising representatives of the umbrella body and government agencies to supervise high-performance sports programmes, Ahmad Faizal said the ministry had not discussed the matter yet.

“I welcome proposals from the OCM, the public and sports associations, following which we will study and make the appropriate decisions,” he said.

In mooting the idea earlier this month, OCM president Tan Sri Mohamad Norza Zakaria said the proposed organisation would ensure that medium- and long-term planning for high-performance sports, especially preparations of athletes for the 2024 Paris and 2028 Los Angeles Olympics, would not be disrupted by changes in government or political structures.

Meanwhile, Ahmad Faizal hoped that Malaysia’s two professional teams, Todak and Team SMG, could make it to the final of the third edition of MLBB world meet from Dec 6-19, with one of them winning the champions’ purse of US$300,000 (about RM1.2 million).

“A total of 16 teams from various countries will be competing and we see teams from the Philippines and Indonesia as our closest challengers. The important thing is they will be fighting to bring glory to the country and further popularise e-sports. I hope more Malaysians can represent the country at the world championship,” he said.

-BERNAMA

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