LAST_UPDATETue, 19 Jun 2018 8pm

Hockey Accepted Into Podium Programme

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 10 — The commendable performance of the men’s hockey squad has earned them a place in the Podium Programme starting January 2018.

"All the 24 players are selected. We welcome the men’s hockey team into the Podium Programme,” said Podium Programme director Tim Newenham, here today when announcing the list of 39 athletes for the 2018 Podium Programme at Dewan Perdana, Institut Sukan Negara (ISN).

The men’s hockey squad under coach Stephen Van Huizen are currently ranked number two Asia after a number of commendable outings, including qualifying for the 2018 World Cup hosted by India, on merit, and emerging as the runner-up in the recently concluded Asia Cup 2017.
Newenham said the list of 39 athletes include 24 hockey players as well as shooters.

Sepak takraw has been retained in the programme despite poor performances throughout the year while swimmers and archers have been dropped.

The nation's top athletes chosen for the Podium Programme stand to be treated like the world's sports stars, with all their physical needs taken care of.

The Podium Programme is a sports development programme to prepare the nation's best athletes for the Olympic Games 2020 in Tokyo, Japan, and is an extension to the 'Road to Rio" project. Under the programme athletes would also seek excellence in Asian Games and Commonwealth Games.

In January, the Podium Programme see the number of elite athletes increase to 146 athletes from 22 sports, comprising 108 male and 38 female.

The performances of athletes would be reviewed every six months.

"We hope that they will be able to perform after been selected into the programme. I hope they can provide us medals in the Commonwealth Games and gold medal in the Asian Games to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games,” said ISN chairman Datuk Seri Abdul Azim Mohd Zabidi.