Publication : MM
Date : 18/01/1994
Headline : Don't spoil young ones with cash
ARE we breeding mercenaries? The cash incentive scheme for school
athletes announced last Tuesday seems to suggest it.
Once these schoolchildren are pampered at an early age, it will be
difficult for them to discard the habit of demanding cash for their
efforts when they progress to the senior state or national teams.
It was announced the athletes will be paid cash rewards for winning
medals or breaking records in track events in state and national
Under the scheme, from this year until 1998, there will be 5,500 prizes
for the top three winners of the 56 events in three age-groups (Under-20,
Under-16 and Under-12) for boys and girls.
The scheme is part of a RM4 million training and development programme
launched by Caltex Oil Malaysia, which was endorsed by the Education
It was reported that the aim of the scheme is to produce a strong
athletics squad for the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur.
School athletes who match the 1990 Commonwealth Games' top three
winning marks in state and national schools meets will be rewarded with
RM50,000, RM30,000 and RM10,000 respectively.
It is all right to reward achievements, but one wonders if the idea
could have adverse effects on our young athletes, who might end up cash-
Patriotism will then become a thing of the past.
It would have been more appropriate to channel the funds into schools
or the State Sports Councils to upgrade facilities or hire proper
In the scheme, the champion state will get a 115m tartan training
track. More such incentives should have been included instead of
splashing cash on kids.
Alternatively, rewards should be in terms of scholarships.
Already, there are complaints that present day sportsmen and sportswomen
no longer take pride in representing their states or nation.
Undeniably, sport has become more professional. Gone are the days when
athletes ran for the state or country as patriotic representatives.
But there must still be some level of pride in representing the state or
A re-think of the mechanics of the incentive scheme is certainly in