By Shane Stokes
An important announcement as regards the future of the Tour de Langkawi is set to be made this week by the Malaysian Minster of Sport, Datuk Azalina Othman Said. The last two editions of the prestigious 2.HC Malaysian event have been dogged by financial difficulties but a government buyout earlier this year settled many of the financial debts, thus securing the race’s license with the UCI.
Although a very considerable financial commitment on the part of the government seemed to ensure that the race would have a long-term future, planning for next year’s race has been hampered by bitter political infighting within the Malaysian National Cycling Federation (MNCF), as well as some negative commentary in the national press. The Minister of Sport is frustrated by the turn of events and is due to make a ruling on the matter this week.
The Malaysian government are reported to have paid RM3.4 million (approximately 730,000 euro) to settle most of the debts, with RM2.3million coming from the Youth and Sports Ministry and RM1.1 million from the Tourism Ministry, yet infighting within the MNCF continues. Involved parties need to reach agreement soon if the race is to be organized in time for 2007.
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