WITH a number of top-level international competitions fast approaching, the Higher Education Ministry is set to use the Malaysia-Indonesia University Games (Sukmalindo), starting today, to benchmark its athletes' current level of performances.
Despite its status as a friendly event to foster closer relationship between universities from both countries, competition in the event, at Universiti Islam Antarabangsa Malaysia's Gombak Campus is expected to be stiff with both countries set to field the cream of their varsity athletes.
A total of 154 Malaysian and Indonesian university athletes will battle it out in hockey, badminton, volleyball and futsal.
Higher Education Ministry sports division spokesperson Nur Ekmal Bukhary said the core of the teams that will likely represent the country in badminton and volleyball at the Laos Asean University Games (AUG) in December, futsal at the World University Championships in Portugal in August and hockey at the World University Games in Kazan, Russia next year will be thoroughly tested by their Indonesian counterparts.
"This is a good chance for us to test our athletes before sending them to major competitions as we know Indonesia will be sending their best, which will also include quite a number of their national players," said Nur Ekmal.
The event, which was held in Jogjakarta last year, was won 3-2 by Malaysia.
The competition had featured a slightly different line-up of sports which saw Malaysia winning the indoor hockey, sepak takraw and futsal matches while Indonesia emerged winners in badminton and volleyball games.