Publication : MM
Date : 10/10/2002
Headline : Don't do this to Kevin
IT will indeed be a sad day for Malaysian sports if the National Sports
Council (NSC) go ahead in lessening their support for sailor Kevin Lim
Leong Keat, who won a silver (in the Laser event) in Busan, in his
preparations for the 2004 Athens Olympics.
Kevin, who turned 26 on Sept 24, was reported as saying on Tuesday he
was concerned that the NSC financial backing may be affected following his
failure to win the gold. He needs RM150,000 for next year's programme.
It was also reported that as far as NSC are concerned, Kevin has been
given enough time to prove himself and that they will have to review his
But consider this. The final year medical student has made sacrifices.
If not for sailing, he will have finished his studies at Australia's New
South Wales University in six years instead of eight years.
He postponed a year of his studies in 2000 to train for the Sydney
Olympics. The fact that Kevin has more often than not won medals, be it at
SEA Games or Asian level, and is still eyeing success in his third
Olympics, speaks of his ability and determination.
If Malaysia have more athletes like Kevin, sports in the country will be
Kevin is studying to be a doctor. not sports science or anything like
that. His studies may be tough but yet he has given time to national
duties. That's commendable, to say the least.
It will be too drastic a move to knock the financial winds out of
Kevin's sails just because he didn't meet the NSC target of gold in Busan.
And it is not that he finished a disappointing fifth or so. He was second
in Asia, up there on the podium.
Kevin's silver efforts should be appreciated for he had gone on to Busan
after suffering a back injury weeks earlier at the Laser World
championships at Cape Cod, United States, and it had forced him to pull
out with three races to go.
In Busan, the gold was won by Korean Kim Ho Kon, who rose to the
occasion in his own backyard. In the Sydney Olympics, Kevin had finished
ahead of Kim.
Kevin has been given a scholarship by the Sports Ministry to study
medicine. After having supported him for much of the way, it would be
cruel to pull the plug on him at this stage.
As it is costly to hire coaches in Australia fulltime, he has opted to
get coaches on hourly rates. And he has managed to train with Olympics
silver medallist Michael Blackburn.
KEVIN'S LIST OF ACHIEVEMENTS
1990 - Beijing Asian Games (fourth in Optimist)
1994 - Hiroshima Asian Games (fourth in Laser)
1995 - Bangkok Sea Games (bronze)
1996 - Atlanta Olympics (38th)
1997 - Jakarta Sea Games (gold)
1998 - Bangkok Asian Games (silver)
1999 - World Laser championship, Melbourne (65th)
2000 - World Laser championship, Mexico (48th), NSW & ACT State Laser
2000 - Sydney Olympics (22nd)
2001 - KL SEA Games (gold)
2001 - runnerup at the 10th Asian championships in Busan
2001 - 49th in the 2001 Laser World championships in Ireland.
2002 - Sail Sydney 2002 International Regatta - winner
2002 - Port Stephen Winter Paradise Regatta - winner
2002 - World Laser championship, Cape Cod, USA - gold fleet - opted out
with three races to go because of back injury - 59th out of 66 in fleet.