GEORGE TOWN, September 19 – An extraordinary assembly of eco-warriors recently converged at Dataran Pantai Queensbay Mall, poised for a unique battle with piles of rubbish, aiming to transform waste into a treasure trove. These passionate individuals were contestants in Malaysia’s preliminary round for the inaugural SPOGOMI World Cup event. In an exhilarating showdown, a remarkable One-Malaysia Team composed of two young champions and their teacher emerged victorious, securing a fully-sponsored trip to Japan this November.
There, they will proudly represent Malaysia, competing against 20 other international teams vying for the prestigious title of SPOGOMI World Champion 2023. SPOGOMI, inspired by Japan, has ingeniously turned a local community clean-up event, akin to a ‘gotong royong,’ into a global sporting spectacle, akin to soccer or triathlon. The competition demands speed, skill, stamina, and strategy, as teams of three race to collect and sort over 17 kilograms of rubbish in just one hour. It’s an athletic endeavor with a twist, aptly captured by the event’s tagline, “Garbage picking is a Sport!”
The event was organized locally by the Pink Hibiscus Club in collaboration with the Penang Green Council, and received substantial support from the City Council of Penang Island, Brewsparks, and CEMACS. The founding organization in Japan, the Nippon Foundation, and UNIQLO generously sponsored the event. Claiming the championship crown was Team GOMI HEROES, comprising Mr. MONESH A/L GOPALKRISHNAN (17 years old), Mr. MUHAMAD NAUWFAL BIN ABDULLAH (16 years old), and Mr. Chung Boon Jin (41 years old).
They secured victory with a total of 4000 points, narrowly edging past the second-place team, SISTA, a trio of determined ladies who amassed 3672 points. The third spot was claimed by EARTH HEROES, who accumulated 2180 points. In a remarkable display of dedication, the 27 competing teams collectively collected a staggering 348.13 kilograms of rubbish in just one hour, of which an impressive 186.17 kilograms were successfully recycled. Mr. Peter Davis, an athlete and environmental influencer from Kuala Lumpur, also joined in the cleanup efforts, advocating for responsible waste management in Malaysia. His involvement underscores the pressing issue of waste mismanagement in the country and the critical need for increased environmental awareness and action.