APABILA aku ditukarkan ke meja berita dari meja sukan Berita Harian pada Januari 1996, aku seolah-olah putus semangat. Maklumlah, kita tengah minat membuat liputan sukan dan banyak lagi yang belum ditempuhi, jutaan lagi pengalaman yang belum terkumpul. Namun apabila ditugaskan membuat liputan di Parlimen, menghadiri sidang akhbar menteri-menteri dan menemu bual diplomat dan menteri dari negara lain, perspektif aku berubah. Duniaku bertambah luas. Sudah tentu antara pengalaman menarik ialah menghulur tape recorder ke mulut Perdana Menteri ketika itu, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad dan timbalannya, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim. Teringat juga aku apabila Dr Mahathir melayan tetamu dan berjabat tangan dengan mereka ketika rumah terbuka Eidul Fitr di Sri Perdana (lama) ditemani Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali. Berjam-jam mereka berdiri tanpa lenguh, tanpa keluh di saat wartawan dan jurugambar 40 tahun lebih muda daripada mereka sudahpun mencangkung...dan sibuk macam manapun, Tun M sentiasa ada masa untuk golongan wartawan...
Siang tadi, Tun M macam biasa tetap berterus-terang.
"Since Le Tour de Langkawi has been hijacked away from Langkawi despite its name, its important to have an event in Langkawi to continue promoting the island as a tourist destination. After all Le Tour de Langkawi is a pale shadow of its former self," said Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, in his usual style, as he gave a speech during the sponsorship announcement of the Langkawi International Mountainbike Challenge 2011 at the KLGCC.
Tun M has always been forthright...(pic Kamarul Akhir)
Tun M and Datuk Malik Mydin entertain questions from the media
KUALA LUMPUR, August 24, 2011 – The prestigious Langkawi International Mountain Bike Challenge – the Tropical Rainforest Challenge 2011, has attracted a world-class field, with more than 20 nationalities expected to descend upon the legendary island in October.
Asia’s current Mountain Bike champion, the United States’ top Junior rider, the Elite men’s defending champion, a former European champion, and the Elite women’s world number 12 are among those who will saddle up for the race on Oct 17-23.
Organisers of LIMBC 2011, Human Voyage (M) Sdn Bhd, also announced the partnership with Telekom Malaysia Berhad and Yayasan Al-Bukhary as gold sponsors, with Sapura Group, Genting Malaysia Berhad, Perdana University and Berjaya Corporation as silver sponsors.
Human Voyage CEO, Datuk Malik Mydin, said the second edition of LIMBC promises to be an unforgettable affair.
“With many top riders from Europe having confirmed their participation, we expect LIMBC 2011 to reaffirm its status as the ultimate race in Asia,” he said during the Sponsors Announcement and Press Conference of the LIMBC at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club here today. LIMBC’s Honorary Patron, YABhg Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, officiated the event.
Dr Mahathir said the event was an important tool to attract tourists to Langkawi.
“It is important to have an event such as this in Langkawi as a tool to promote the islands to tourists. With the anticipated huge media interest and coverage, we hope to have more tourists coming over to the island.
“The publicity that LIMBC is expected to generate will help in attracting tourists, instead of having to pay a massive amount to have promotional clips broadcast all over the world,” said Dr Mahathir.
Top elite team, Team Colnago Farbe Sudtirol boasts World No 12 Nathalie Schneitter, winner of the Champery leg of the World Cup series last year. Nathalie will be accompanied by Swiss champ, Vivienne Meyer.
Inaugural winner, Lachlan Norris, will be eager to defend his elite men’s title while United States’ No 1 Under-23 rider, Russell Finsterwald, will represent the Subaru Trek team.
German-based Team Bulls will parade former European champion Thomas Dietsch of France and German three time Cape Epic champ, Karl Platt.
Completing the stellar line-up of teams are Team Bridgestone Anchor of Japan which boasts an impressive lineup including Mountain Bike cross country three time Asian champion, Kohei Yamamoto and MTN Qhubeka of South Africa.
Team Qhubeka will parade multiple South African mountain bike champ Yolande Speedy and Paul Cordes.
Three-time South African mountain bike champ Yolande represented South Africa in the Beijing Olympics three years ago.
Cordes comes with the distinction of having won the the ABSA Cape Epic in 2007 and as well as coming 19th overall in the men’s category of the 2011 edition.
Malik expressed gratitude to LIMBC partners for their support in making sure the race boasts the biggest purse in Asia, with a whopping RM360,000 in cash and lucky draw prizes to be won. Apart from the six sponsorship partners, the event is supported by the Malaysian Conventions and Exhibitions Bureau (MyCEB), with Hotel Bayview Langkawi as the official hotel and Maybank the official bank.
“We wish to thank our partners for their constant support. I’m certain the race will help meet the returns on investments,” said Malik.
Malik added riders in the Masters (40 - 50) and Senior Master Men's (51 & above) Categories will be allowed to compete without a valid UCI racing license. Only those of the Elite Men & Women's Category are required to have a valid UCI license approved by their National Cycling Federation.
The adventure trail begins with Stage 1 on Oct 18 with the 62km round island race, followed by the cross country Olympic which starts and finishes at Kampung Tok Senik Resort as Stage 2.
Stage 3 is a 7-hour endurance cross country special stage race at Telaga Harbour Park, Pantai Kok, followed by the nerve-shredding King of the Mountain and cross country race which will end at the Gunung Raya Hill as Stage 4, before the event culminates with Stage 5, a cross country short circuit race. An off-road jamboree ride marks the closing and final day of this much-anticipated race, with a limited participation of up to 1,000 riders for the 44km race. Social riders of all ages and backgrounds are welcomed to participate.
For LIMBC 2011, entry fee for international participants is US$400, which includes race registration fee for stage race and jamboree event, accommodation, full board meals and return transfer to the airport. A supporter’s package is also available at US$300.
Race entry fee for local riders is RM150 with free accommodation provided to the first 400 confirmed local participants to register. Riders wishing to participate only in the jamboree may do so with an entry fee of RM60.
Participants will be divided into four categories – Elite men between the ages 19 and 39, Elite women 19 and above, Master men 40-50 and Senior Master men 51 and above.
Registration is accepted either via online registration at www.mtbmalaysia.com or by sending the completed downloaded registration forms and proof of payment of registration fee to fax number 603-9222 1786 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org. Participants and members of the media are also invited to look out for upcoming updates over facebook.com/mtbmalaysia or twitter.com/mtbmalaysia.