SANDAKAN: lSabah Government is proud that the state’s sportsmen and sportswomen have been doing well at various sports and games, said Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Dr Joachim Gunsalam.
He said the Government has been very generous in supporting sports and games by providing financial grants to deserving sports bodies as well as incentives to the state’s sportsmen and women whenever they do well.
“Keep up your good work and we will continue to support you.
“Many of our sportsmen and sportswomen have donned the national jersey of their respective sport to represent Malaysia at international events. And they have done very well too.
“Sabah’s rugby players, both men and women, are among those who have played for the country. Such developments are great for local sports in general and the game of rugby in particular,” he said at a dinner in conjunction with the closing of the three-day Borneo Sevens 2023 rugby tournament here on Monday night.
Dr. Joachim also thanked all the teams for a giving the local rugby enthusiasts spectacular moments to remember.
“I am sure they have enjoyed three wonderful days of sheer entertainment, watching top class rugby.
“Furthermore many of our schoolchildren had turned up to watch the matches. After witnessing such excitement on the pitch they will surely be inspired to pick up the game.
“This tournament has also benefitted our local players too. It gave them a wonderful opportunity to pit their skills against very tough opponents, forcing them to give their best on the pitch.
“Our state rugby players are already among the best in our country. Our Sabah Rugby Team has won the prestigious Agong’s Cup Championships five times so far. We are recognised as a rugby powerhouse in Malaysia. Our women ruggers have also been doing well with many of them being recruited to play for other states.
“Now, having been given another opportunity to play against some very strong teams at this Borneo Sevens 2023, I am confident that our players will be able to take their level of play to yet another level. And that goes for their mental conditioning as well,” he said.
Coming back after a three years hiatus, the Borneo Sevens 2023 was participated by seven countries namely Malaysia, Singapore, India, Australia, Thailand, Kazakhstan and Uzbeskistan.
Dr Joachim also noted that the organiser Eagles Rugby Club has taken the opportunity to organise an Elite Coaches Course as well as a sports medicine course in conjunction with this Borneo Sevens.
This will surely help further strengthen the foundation of sports development in our state and country, he said.
He said with the hosting of this annual Borneo Sevens International Clubs event, rugby has once again taken centre stage.
He is confident that this will eventually help make the game a household favourite in Malaysia.
“To organise and host such a prestigious tournament certainly involve a lot of dedicated effort and time. Therefore I once congratulate Eagles Rugby Club for a job well done,” he said.
The Borneo Sevens 2023 was won by the Eagles Rugby Club’s (ERC) Borneo Eagles for the men’s category and its fairer team Eagles NZ 7s for the women’s category.
Winners of both categories received US$5,000 (RM22,428), a trophy and medals while the runners-up received US$2,500 (RM11,214), a trophy and medals.