THE crisis-stricken Malaysian Weightlifting Federation (MWF) has sent its athletes for a military-style training camp on an island in the province of Hainan, China as part of their preparation to earn Olympic qualification at the Asian Championships on April 23-30 in Pyongtaek, South Korea.
MWF president Zafarul Akhbar Kassim said the lifters left on Sunday for the stint which is intended to give the 11 athletes a highly disciplined training regime in the lead-up to the qualifiers where Malaysia is targeting two Olympic slots, one for each men’s and women’s categories, through the team event. The stint ends on April 21.

The federation has been in a quandary since four of its athletes tested positive for banned substances in tournaments last year and has also lost key lifter Aricco Jumitih to psoriasis earlier this month.

"We have a great training centre at (National Sports Complex) Bukit Jalil, however, there can be a lot of disruptions both emotionally and from a dietary perspective, as they are free to come and go after training," said Zafarul.

"We have sent them to Haikou to make sure they are totally focused on training and can be absolutely sure they are eating right as that is key to them peaking in Korea.

"The island is in an isolated location which is one of six centres where China’s national team train and our lifters will train alongside the (China) athletes. The place is known for its military-style training. Some athletes have been lamenting the isolation factor, however, the decision has been made in their best interest. This is the time they should be making sacrifices for the country."

Zafarul added that the athletes, who are accompanied by national coach Lin Xinhui, will not be given time to return home after the stint. They will be undergoing drug tests before they compete at the Asian Championships.

The athletes — Men: Abdul Mubin Rahim (85kg), Abdul Azim Najmi Abdul Rashid (105kg), Mohd Hafifi Mansor (69kg), , Mohd Faizal Baharom (62kg), Muhammad Zafril Zulkifli (105kg).

Women: Nur Niada Nordin (48kg), Azizah Fadzil (53kg), Franceay Titus (58kg), Nurjannah Batrisya Abdullah (75kg), Zulkifli Che’Rose (77kg).

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