Tuesday, September 27, 1994

Man with the Midas touch (The Malay Mail)

DATUK TAHA ARIFFIN, Malaysia's Chef-de-mission to the Hirsohima Asian
Games, is the man with the Midas touch, at least where Sarawak soccer is
He is responsible for transforming the backwater state into a soccer
powerhouse and many are hoping Taha will lend that golden touch to the
Asian Games contingent.
But the modest and softspoken Taha prefers to keep a low profile and
motivate the contingent in his own way.
"I certainly don't have a magic wand. Whatever was achieved with Sarawak
soccer was through hard work and over a period of time," said Taha.
"Besides, with Sarawak soccer it is just one sports. We are competing in
18 events in the Asian Games.
"Then again, each sport has had its own preparation and the role of the
chef-de-mission is very different from being involved directly with just a
"Nevertheless, I intend to do my best to motivate the athletes to give
their best," he said.
Taha is honoured to lead the Malaysian contingent to a pretigious event
like the Asian Games.
"I was really surprised when I was first nominated as the chef-de-
"I intend to take the appointment as a challenge and do my best to help
the athletes in Japan," he said.
Taha said the national training camp in Shah Alam was one area where he
had helped to motivate the athletes.
"The stint at the national training camp was an important one. Instead
of going as individual sports for the Games, we have managed to instill a
family unity among them.
"The odds are stacked against us but will fight on.
"The athletes are aware they are not representing their sports or
themselves but the whole nation. They are also aware that discipline is
the key to success."
Taha does not want to put any undue pressure on the athletes.
"They have all worked hard and long to prepare for the Games. I am sure
they want to do well.
"But at the end of the day it is going to be a team effort as we have
have to be united in our effort and support and encourage each other,
especially since we are competing away from home," said Taha.
In the last Games in Beijing, Malaysia won two goal medals in
sepaktakraw (regu and team) while the silvers came from men's badminton
and swimmer Jeffery Ong.
The bronze medals came from Rashid Sidek (singles) and Razip-Jalani
Sidek (doubles) in badminton, the men's hockey team and women's athletics
4x400m relay team.
Taha will be assisted by Ho Koh Chye, the National Sports Council deputy
director general, who is the assistant chef-de-mission.
Name: Datuk Taha Ariffin
Age : 51
Place of Birth: Kuching, Sarawak.
Position: A Lawyer who has been invloved with the Sarawak State Government
for many years. He was the secretary to the Ministry of Social Development
of Sarawak before being appointed Deputy State Secretary three years ago.
He is the Deputy-President of the Football Association of Sarawak and an
FA of Malaysia vice-president. He is also a member of the excecutive
council of the Olympic Council of Malaysia.
He is the chef-de-mission to the Hiroshima Asian Games.

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