Medals won in tennis will not count in the official medal tally in national games (Sukma) now being held in Perak but Sabah is sending 10 players – five boys and five girls to Ipoh.

The 10 left for Ipoh this morning with a strong call by Sabah Tennis Association to make the sport a core sport which STA president Johnson Koh described as the “second most popular individual sport” which has a great following in Malaysia.

“The fact that all the state are participating in tennis in Sukma Perak is a clear message to the authorities that game cannot be ignored,”said Johnson, who is also a vice-president of Tennis Malaysia, before leaving with the team for Ipoh.

“Not having tennis in Sukma is very disappointing and desruptive to the tennis fraternity. There is a policy that states if the the sport can obtain a medal in Sea Games then it can be declared as a core sports,

“However, if Malaysia cannot even hold an inter state tennis tournament in SUKMA, how can you produce a Sea Games medalist. The search for tennis talent must begin with districts and and states.

“The ministry and relevant authorities must spearhead the thing. The sports minister must ensure tennis be included in all SUKMA games.

“Tennis is an Olympic sport and also in the Asian Games and the Sea Games,” added Johnson, who hopes future SUKMA Games will have tennis.

Johnson is the sabah team manager while the coach is Tito Latoja and Shamsuddin Mustamin as chaper. RIZAL ABDULLAH

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