KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 14 – National high jump champion Nauraj Singh Randhawa has been chosen to read the athlete’s pledge at the Kuala Lumpur 2017 SEA Games (KL2017). Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said the selection of the 25-year-old athlete was based on Nauraj’s achievement in the sport.

“Nauraj is seen to be an outstanding athlete in the ‘Kita Juara’ program, where he had qualified for the ‘Podium Program’. Nauraj is an exemplary athlete who started from the bottom and is capable of becoming a world class athlete. So, I gave the honour to Nauraj Singh,” he told reporters at the KL2017 Torch Run program at Sekolah Kebangsaan Taman Tun Dr Ismail 1, here today.

In addition, Khairy said Nauraj was chosen as the athlete’s pledge reader because of his height which was 1.93 metres that could attract attention when the pledge was read at the KL2017 official opening ceremony on Aug 19 at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium. Khairy said he chose Nauraj because he is tall, because when a tall person reads the pledge, people will be more attentive.

He said the pledge will be read in English and his (Nauraj’s) English language is also good, so there will be no slip-up. Nauraj was the gold medal winner at the 2013 SEA Games in Myanmar and 2015 in Singapore. The Johor-born athlete did a jump of 2.29m at the Singapore Open Athletics Championship which broke the national record made by Lee Hup Wei in 2008.

Nauraj was the only athletics athlete who qualified for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games on merit and occupied the 18th place in high-jump on his first appearance at the Games. On the two events beginning today that involved the national football and netball teams, Khairy hoped the players would show their best performance to achieve their first win in their respective event and wished them all the best.

“I managed to speak to the netball squad as well as Kim Swee (Datuk Ong Kim Swee, national football team head coach) yesterday. We are hoping for a good beginning today. The national contingent will continue to be in high spirit to face whatever challenges throughout the Games,” he added.

About 1,000 participants including 200 school children participated in the torch run today beginning at Sekolah Kebangsaan Taman Tun Dr Ismail 2. It was also participated by Khairy’s son, Jibriel Ali as well as national sports legends such as former national footballer Datuk Santokh Singh, Datuk K. Rajagobal, Khalid Ali, Razip Ismail and Zainal Abidin Hassan as well as national cycling champion Datuk Ng Joo Ngan. — Bernama

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