Thursday, April 3, 2008


Life ban for six local anglers who cheated
Sabah International Fishing Tournament organizers tighten rules


The organizers of Sabah International Fishing Tournament is adopting more stringent rules after discovering some participants had cheated their way to winning prizes in past tournaments. Sabah Anglers Association (SAA) President Datuk Wilfred Lingham revealed at a press conference to announce the introduction of the new rules at Sutera Harbour Marina here yesterday that a number of these cheaters managed to unfairly walk away with the tournament’s main prizes and titles. He said the organizing committee has engaged a local legal firm to help in reviewing and enforcing the tournament rules and regulations. Lingham said he has learned that during the past tournaments, there were local participants who sneaked to nearby fish farms and jetties to buy live or freshly caught fish and passed them off as their catch at the tournament’s weighing centre. The organizer has begun to tighten their watch over the participants by deploying tournament marshals who would keep an eye on each boat throughout the event, he said. As a result, six local participants were banned for life from the tournament after being found trying to use the same tactic, he said. Expressing regret over the action of these participants, Lingham said: “There is no sportsmanship in that and it is humiliating for the local anglers.” “We must stress this is a tourism event to promote Sabah where at the same time we hope to attract participation of international anglers; Certainly we don’t want to promote a negative image,” he said. He said the organizer has also decided to be firmer on the penalties for hoe found to have broken the tournament regulations and rules, or tried to cheat their way to winning prizes. For example, unlike in the previous years, those who are found cheating this time would not only cause his team to be disqualified from the team category but the entire team members would also forfeit their right to contest in the individual category. “As the prizes grow bigger, participants are also trying harder to outsmart us to win the tournament by means of cheating. So it is sensible to make it not only harder but also riskier for them to do so,” he said. He said a briefing on the rules and regulations of the competition will be give to participants at 7pm on Friday , just after the tournament registration period which will be open from morning to 6pm the same day.