PUTRAJAYA: This year’s Hari Sukan Negara celebrations will be extra special.

About 100 sports icons will “turun padang” (go to the ground) in their states, home towns and districts during the mass celebrations, which will be held nationwide tomorrow.

The Hari Sukan Negara is the brainchild of Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin, who mooted the idea in 2015.

Head of secretariat (Hari Sukan Negara) Mohsinar Abdul Malek said the presence of Olympians, Paralympians and recent stars of the Kuala Lumpur SEA Games (in August) and Asean Para Games (in September) would inject more excitement and draw in the crowd.

“This is an opportunity for the people to engage in sports activities and get close to our sports icons. The idea is to bring them close to the people and let them mingle and get to know our champions,” said Moh­sinar, adding that the recent success of Malaysia at the SEA Games and Asean Para Games “is still the talk of the town”.

Rio Paralympic gold medallist Abdul Latif Romly (men’s long jump T20) and netball’s S.L. Karishma, who played a pivotal role in helping Malaysia win the SEA Games gold medal, were present at Wednesday’s press conference in Putrajaya to lend their support to the Youth and Sports Ministry’s efforts.

Among those set to join in the Hari Sukan Negara celebrations are divers Pandelela Rinong and Cheong Jun Hoong, winners of the silver medal in the 10m platform synchro at the 2016 Rio Olym­pics; and sprinter Khairul Ha­fiz Jantan, who won the 100m gold at the SEA Games.

More than 2,000 fun-filled activities have been drawn up. Among the highlights will be the “10,000 steps”, which will see a mass participation of 16,000 students in Putrajaya.

Mohsinar said that they had also received more than 10,000 entries for the Putrajaya run, which will be held at night for the first time.

Youth and Sports Ministry deputy director (sports development) Mohd Azhari Mohammad said the Hari Sukan Negara celebrations will be launch­ed by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil to­­morrow.

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