Saturday, May 20, 2006

A review of the SUKMA in order (2006 - Malaysian Today)

A review of the SUKMA in order!

THE Malaysia Games or SUKMA has to be reviewed immediately, if it’s original goals are to be achieved for the future of Malaysian sports.

The Games in its eleventh edition end in Alor Setar, Kedah on Sunday, but there has been one too many negative issues which has been surfacing throughout the event, that the owners of the Games, the National Sports Council (NSC), will be addressing the issue.

Sports Minister, Datuk Azalina Othman Said herself has expressed her disappointment that the Games despite running into millions of Ringgit to organise, has not been unearthing enough talent for future national athletes in the various sports.

The growing emphasis by States to win gold medals at all expense, has given rise to pinching of athletes, athletes themselves marketing themselves to best offers, while States themselves too offer lucrative monetary rewards, to lure the best athletes.

Many States have been neglecting the basic essence of the Games, which is identify talent and develop them to compete in the Games.

With the endless number of controversies arising Games after Games, it only underlines that the State simply do not understand the rules of the Games which has been clearly spelt out. It is the onus on the States when they register their athletes that they fulfill all the requirement and are bona fide athletes of their State, but there has been cases of States either being ignorant of the rules or blatantly flouting it.

And it is sinful to see host of the Games, trying to outdo the previous host to make the “Best Games Ever” and get blinded by trying to have the best opening and closing ceremonies and spend millions of Ringgit, instead spending the money on development or giving more emphasis to the organisation of each event with quality, fairness and efficiency.

To make matters worse, State bring athletes to the Games just to make up the numbers and forget about quality and standards.

A prelude to what was in store for the Kedah Games by the athletes was probably displayed in the opening ceremony by athletes of the various States, except Police, in the march-past, where their behavior was totally unbecoming of sportmen and sportwomen, especially in the presence of dignitaries, including the Sultan and Sultanah of Kedah.

When discipline is compromised from the very start of the Games, it is little surprise with all the incidents that happened during the Games.

There has also been mention that since the Malaysia Games, is a national Games, it should be held at a permanent venue – that National Sports Complex in Bukit Jalil, so that there is better control of the Game from all aspects.

Of course, the next host Terengganu followed by Malacca, are going to protest fervently as they will lose out on the opportunity upgrade sporting facilities, not to mention the money-making exercise which goes on in every Games hosted.

Maybe, till the Games come permanently to Bukit Jalil, the coming Games should see the respective national sports association take charge of managing the respective events, with the host’s State sports association providing the support-service, to eliminate all the accusation of bias judging and poorly run events.

Probably, NSC may also want to consider reducing the number of events, probably just sticking to the eight-core sports and maybe include another four sports, which is well managed and draws good participation.

To ensure that there is quality in the Malaysia Games, it will be appropriate that a selection process is held through the District Games, which is being mooted by Azalina, which is expected to be held in between the Malaysia Games years.

Only the best in the District Games should be allowed to compete in the Malaysia Games, or athletes who better the performance of the best performer from their respective States in other meets like the State or national meet of the respective sports.

Even Olympic Council of Malaysia, president Tunku Tan Sri Imran Tuanku Jaafar, totally agrees that a qualifying standard has to be set to check the deteriorating standards in the Malaysian Games.

OCM will be having their annual conference on July 29 and the topic is about Malaysia Games. It is hope that all National Sports Associations, National and State Sports Councils, athletes and others will give their input with the interest of the Games at heart.

The feedback will certainly be useful before NSC reviews the Games and the Malaysia Supreme Council meet to deliberate on the matter and take a final stand on the future of the Games.

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