Friday, July 1, 2005

MAKING A MOCKERY OF THE SPORT (01/07/2005 -The Malay Mail)

Publication : MM
Edition :
Date : 01/07/2005
Page Number : 42

MALAYSIAN athletes more often than not fail to realise how lucky they are
compared to their overseas counterparts, including those in much more
developed nations.
And therein lies the problem, where athletes here take things for
granted, fail to appreciate the financial support from the Government and
their sports associations, while half-heartedly representing the country.
Then, there have also been cases of athletes who have been nurtured
from young, but only to call it quits at their whims and fancies when the
going got tough.
A majority of the foreign athletes who took part in the 1998 Kuala
Lumpur Commonwealth Games were envious of how lucky their local
counterparts were.
Not only do Malaysian athletes get paid for training by the best, in
particular foreign coaches, in addition to being sent for overseas stints
from time to time, they are even rewarded when they win honours.
Australian athletes had to pay for their passage and, in most cases,
even for their accommodation during the Commonwealth Games here. And so
were many others.
Of late, another group of athletes - the well-to-do who have the
financial backing of their parents - have surfaced and they are a
pampered lot.
These athletes do not know the word "sacrifice" because besides
Government aid, they also have their parents' financial support, where if
they are not bought cars or given lifts for training sessions, are
Some of these athletes are talented and have the potential to go far.
But because sport is just a pastime or status symbol to these athletes,
they are quick to call it quits the moment they are required to put in
some extra effort in training or show more discipline if they are to
Most of the time, these athletes use the excuse of further studies to
either take a break from the sport or call it quits.
Others also do the same when they cannot take the rigours and demands
of their coach's training sessions.
However, these athletes can still continue to compete in Open meets and
sometimes even overseas under their State banners.
It is about time these "spoilt athletes" stop making a mockery of the
sport because there are many deserving cases that should be in the
training programmes.
Providing the best training for deserving athletes will normally see
them overcoming odds in reaching greater heights. This is due to their
determination to succeed as it is a passport to a better life.
Talent is certainly not short here, but the process of selection does
not see the results corresponding to the money spent.
Maybe it is about time the parties concerned consider having those
athletes enrolled in programmes sign bonds to ensure they do not quit
midway and are required to serve for a specific time frame until results
are achieved.
This way, at least it can guarantee whatever money spent on the
development of sports has not gone to waste.
Gone are the days when Malaysian athletes competed for the passion of
the sport or the love and pride of the country.
In today's hi-tech age, unless everything is spelt out and rules are
set, and results expected, athletes are set to compete in a robot-like
manner. Chances are Malaysia will be short-changed.
It is sad that sports has come to this stage, but the fact is many
Malaysian athletes are not professional enough to be treated like adults
and produce their best to get results.

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