Our preparation for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, should already be underway.
Whilst watching the recent Olympics, with some university students, we discussed sports, in schools, in Malaysia.
Some of them complained that when they were in primary and secondary school, they were not allowed to participate in some sports, despite their commitment and skills in that game.
They alleged that they were not selected, for the school or the national team, because the quota for their race had been filled.
So, is this quota issue for real?
Please e-mail, if you were discriminated at school, and banned from the school team, despite being good at your particular sport, because of your race.
Now that the Olympic Games are over and the sportsmen have returned to a heroes welcome, we do not begrudge the cash incentives, for the Malaysian Olympians who returned from Rio de Janeiro with gold, silver and bronze medals. This is the taxpayer’s money, and some people agree that our athletes deserve this monetary award, as recognition for their success.
But, wouldn’t it be nicer if it was also announced that several hundred million ringgits had been allotted, to promote sports among our youth and school children?
Does anyone know how much is currently spent on the promotion of sports in Malaysia? Once Chong Wei and the older athletes retire, will there be enough young athletes to take their places?
What is the state of sports in Malaysia today? How badly underfunded are sports? Is the money being spent on unnecessary items and people?
Misbun Sidek’s complaint
Former National Badminton coach, Misbun Sidek, claimed that Malaysia lacked a developed and complete training system. He did not attach any blame on Chong Wei for failing to win a gold medal, but said that our training system was inadequate.
Misbun voiced his fears about funding and training, eight years ago but claimed that his advice fell on deaf ears. He said that top athletes, like Chong Wei, needed a fully dedicated team to advise them on the psychology of training, physical fitness and diet.
Misbun is right. Athletes need to assess and reassess, to see if their training is effective. They require experts who can push them to a higher level, to achieve their goals.
The former badminton coach and former Malaysian badminton champion, also suggested that our lack of preparation, meant that we do not have a younger group of talented athletes to inherit the legacy of champions like Chong Wei.
How committed is Khairy?
Is the Sports Minister, Khairy, as committed to promote sports as our sportsmen are to success?
Training is not just about building muscles and stamina, being aware of our bodies and making sure that we are mentally prepared to take on our sporting opponents.
As it is best to target the sports which we have proven our success, will Khairy and his sports officials decide which sports will benefit from more funding?
We need to select the sports in which we can excel, rather than train our athletes for the sports, for which we cannot qualify.
Do we have dedicated teachers, who are focused on sports? We need young children who have what it takes to become athletes, but we also need committed teachers, who can spot potential talent, and who are willing to train their charges.
An immediate multi million ringgit cash injection, to nurture young talent, is a tiny fraction of RM4.6 billion, which has made the headlines, worldwide. It would be most welcome by our budding athletes.