KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 28 — The government has allocated RM50 million under the Road to Rio programme aimed at preparing athletes to win the country’s first ever Olympic gold medal at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, in announcing the allocation when tabling the 2013 Budget in Parliament today, said the government had always given priority to ensure the continuous development of sports.
“Athletes like Datuk Lee Chong Wei (badminton), Pandelela Rinong (diving), Datuk Nicol David (squash) and Mohd Azizulhasni Awang (cycling) are among heroes and heroines who are the envy of the nation. We are proud of their achievement at the international stage.
“As such, for 2013, the government will allocate RM738 million for the development of youth and sports,” said Najib, who is also the finance minister.
The Road to Rio programme is a continuation of the Road To London 2012 programme that was also aimed at winning the country’s first ever gold medal in the Olympics.
For the London programme, RM20 million was allocated and the Malaysian contingent returned with a silver medal through Chong Wei (men’s singles) and a bronze from Pandelela (women’s 10m platform diving).
Najib said RM15 million would be allocated to prepare athletes for major games, including the 2013 SEA Games in Myanmar, Asean Para Games 2013 (Myanmar), 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland and 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea.
Najib said to further boost the development of cycling and badminton, the government would build a covered velodrome in Seremban and a badminton academy in Bukit Kiara through an allocation of RM80 million. — Bernama