August 17, 2018
IT’S been a month since two participants died during the Port Dick International Triathlon but questions remain despite an explanation by Negri Sembilan Mentri Besar Aminuddin Harun.
Also, a committee was formed by Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman to probe the two drownings in choppy seas.
In his statement last month Aminuddin said the organisers had done their best to ensure the safety of participants but they were overwhelmed when faced with the unpredictable weather and sea conditions.
As a participant, I thought Aminuddin described the situation correctly, especially regarding the organisation.
My father, who was present in PD, was among the bystanders who helped safety personnel employed by the organisers to pull their rescue kayaks back to land. He agreed that the sea was quite rough and that the kayaks were filled with water .
Thus they needed to empty the kayaks quickly to immediately deploy them back to sea for some other participants who were having difficulty in the water.
My father told this story: “I caught a glimpse of the kayakers’ hand and it was chafed quite badly from all the desperate pulling and rowing of the kayaks.”
That’s how serious they were with the rescue effort and I think what they did was commendable. I was also glad when Syed Saddiq decided to form the committee.
I am definitely not looking to apportion blame but it would be good if we can have the committee provide suggestions on how to improve safety.
The report hopefully will be comprehensive enough to help prevent a similar tragedy.
As said by experienced triathlete Idon Pang, Aminuddin’s explanation was useful but it’s not enough.
“The future of sports depends on us knowing more so we can take preventive action. Some sports, like the triathlon, is inherently risky. For sure there’ll be accidents but hopefully not under similar circumstances.
“As for some of us, the inquiry is supposed to let us know if the organisers had done everything possible. It’s for our peace of mind and closure,” said Pang.
Another triathlete, a 62-year-old Oh Kah Beng, echoed Idon’s opinion, describing the MB’s explanation as insufficient.
“Of course it’s not enough…. I want to know where we can improve our safety measures and what aspects can be improved,” said Oh,