Malaysian high jump champion Nauraj Singh Randhawa has been chosen to read the athlete’s pledge at the Kuala Lumpur 2017 SEA Games (KL2017) that begins on Aug 19.
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 examplary athlete who started from the bottom and is capable of becoming a world class athlete….So, I gave the honour to Nauraj Singh,” Bernama quoted the minister.
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.
“I chose Nauraj because he is tall, because when a tall person reads the pledge, people will be more attentive. The pledge will be read in English and his (Nauraj’s) English language is also good. So there will be no slip-up,” said Khairy.
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, the report added.
In an immediate response, Malaysian Gurdwara Council (MGC) and Coalition of Malaysian Sikh Organisation (CMSO) congratulated Naujraj on being selected to read the athlete’s pledge at the regional games.
In a text message, MGC president Jagir Singh: “The MGC welcomes the honour given by the Malaysian Government to Nauraj Singh to lead in reading the oath taking at the start of the SEA games 2017. Nauraj has done all proud. MGC thanks the Government for the confidence in Nauraj Singh and hopes all our Malaysian athletes will give their best for the country.”
In a separate message, CMSO chairman Dr Surendar Singh Cheema, who is himself involved in the SEA Games, said: “It’s a great honour to be selected amongst hundreds of athletes to read the oath taking in this regional game coinciding with 60 years of independence of our country. Keep bringing more glory for yourself, family,community and Malaysia.”
He will be marshaling close to 2,000 officials to oversee all the medical services and doping checks for the regional games.