Friday, April 15, 2005

Sorry state of schools ( 15/04/2005 - The Malay Mail)

Publication : MM
Date : 15/04/2005
Headline : Sorry state of schools

WHAT has become of the annual athletics meet which was the pride and joy
of every school?
These days, more and more schools are just organising the meet as
another item in their calendars, keeping events to a minimum.
The main reasons given by schools for resorting to such actions is they
lack funds and they cannot be wasting too much time preparing for their
athletics meets.
Then of course, some schools have problems choosing a venue because of
the following reasons: they do not have a field, have one which is too
small to host an athletics meet, or lost part or the whole field in the
name of development.
But it is surprising to note that schools even in the Klang Valley,
where stadiums are in abundance, are having venue problems.
One premier institution in Kuala Lumpur, who had lost part of their
field to development, wanted to organise their meet in another school
with a track.
But they decided against it and were also not keen on having the meet
in their premises as their track only covered a distance of 250m.
Mind you, this was a school who not only produced State athletes, but
also national stars some time ago.
Today, a blind boy and a basketball player are their top athletes!
They could not even find a teacher who can coach athletes in schools
and are now seriously seeking assistance from their former students.
This is the sorry state of a school that used to produce top athletes
but are now in the dumps due to the neglect of basic facilities and lack
of coaches.
And in Penang, a school, with the approval of the State Education
Department, have allowed part of their field to be turned into a driving
And we are still hoping for athletes to surface from the grassroots!
At the KL inter-zone level, another interesting event has transpired,
with the athletics meet held in two venues and on different dates!
The field events started yesterday at the National Sports Council
training tracks, and the track competition will be held at Kuala Lumpur
Football Stadium in Bandar Tun Razak from Monday to Wednesday.
And the reason for splitting the two events: their bookings made last
November to organise the meet at National Stadium in Bukit Jalil had to
be cancelled in early February because the stadium board wanted to close
the premises to returf their pitch, which came under flak during the
Tiger Cup in December.
While sympathising with the organisers for the late cancellation, it
was surprising they could not field an alternative venue for both the
track and field events to be held at the same time.
The split in the meet will surely rob the events of the glamour, with
the athletes feeling alienated.
The Selayang Municipality Stadium was available, but the organisers
thought it was too far for the athletes from the four zones - Datuk
Keramat, Sentul, Pudu and Bangsar!
What about the Kampung Pandan Sports Complex? Probably too small and
not a "glamorous" venue.
And there are more than 10 stadiums in Bangi belonging to corporate
sectors, but again probably too far for the KL-based students.
But the Selangor Schools Sports Council, who have NINE districts
(including Sabak Bernam, which is about two hours away from the city),
saw their four-day meet being held at the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia
Stadium in Bangi.
The other districts were Hulu Langat, Petaling, Hulu Selangor, Kuala
Selangor, Kuala Langat, Klang, Sepang and Gombak.
A total of 130 events (both track and field) for five age-groups
(Under-18, Under-15, Under-13 and Under-11 for both boys and girls)
featured 780 athletes and 325 officials, including technical staff from
Malaysian Amateur Athletics Union (MAAU) and Selangor AAA, making it a
successful event.
And the participants made it even more memorable by breaking 24 meet
records, including bettering one Asean schools and two Malaysian schools
It only goes to underline that with a proper environment, facilities
and well-organised meet, athletes will be motivated to perform.
Once again, it has been proven the concerned parties have to get their
act right at the grassroots level regardless of the sport, if they
harbour hopes of seeing schools serve as a nursery grooming the future of
Malaysian sports.

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