Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Sporting shame (2007 - Malaysian Today)

Sporting shame

MALAYSIAN athletes have yet to establish themselves as world-renowned personalities, but they are already acting like prima donnas.

Even the few who have been making a name for themselves in the world arena, have yet to reach “star” status with consistent performance over a number of years.

Malaysian athletes lack the character to display true sportsmanship, professionalism and portray themselves as an icon for the future generation.

Malaysian sportsmen and women generally being labeled as spoilt and pampered lot and there will be no smoke without fire.

The scribe witnessed a few incidents this week, which only confirmed that Malaysian athletes have a long way before they can stand out with distinction in the world arena.

One shocking incident was when the national soccer team was returning from Singapore by flight after their semifinals defeat to Singapore in the Asean Football Federation soccer tournament on Sunday, were a disgrace to budding youngsters who had ambitions to be national players one day.

Although returning as a team after the defeat, the players were seated all over the plane. (Prior arrangement could have been made for them all to be seated together).

What was even more shocking was the same players were seated with either their wives or girlfriends.

And the “women” were all over their men during the flight and it was a disgusting sight especially with the players in national colours and traveling as a team.

It is learnt that these “women” also stayed in the same hotel, as the team.

There is no harm for wives and girlfriends to support their men, but they should travel separately and stay in a different hotel.

Even the top teams in the world for the World Cup do not condone such behavior from their players. (Wives and girlfriends travel for the World Cup but separately and stay in different hotels and are only allowed to meet at stipulated times and venues. But for the World Cup the players are on assignment for almost for a month).

The Malaysian team was in Singapore for just three days!

But the height of the situation of the national team was when a player was seen walking out from the plane with his hands locked with his wife or girlfriend.

What kind on impression would have this player given to the public at the airport.

Certainly did not speak much of the character of the team nor the player.

Lets forget about the players showing some remorse for their exit from the AFF tournament, but least the players should have the decency to behave in the public.

Traveling on the same flight were two young fans – college students – who has attired themselves with the latest Nike jersey the Malaysian team is equipped with and would have paid close to RM300.

The duo was diehard fans because they not only were wearing the expensive and brand new Malaysian jersey, but had flown in to watch the game.

What kind of impression or example, would have the national soccer players given these two young fans – that life as a national soccer players is all about glamour, women and fun?

The FA of Malaysia should get to the bottom of this matter, at least for the same of the sake of whatever image the national soccer team has!

Then in other sports like gymnastics and badminton, we have players who demand who they train under and where they train. Parents too have joined the bandwagon and in the pretext of wanting the best for their children, make unwarranted demands and accuse the administrators of all sorts of shortcomings.

Then, we even have parents who go the extend of thinking of asking monetary gains for interviews.

In athletics there was discontentment among a few athletes, over the scholarships awarded by the Higher Education Ministry, despite already on scholarships which maybe not as lucrative in terms of monetary as the recent scholarships offered, but had other values like prolonging their courses or deferring their dates of examination.

What is it with these athletes? They demand anything and everything, but when it comes to performances, it is questionable.

And the government is pumping in millions into sports, only to find athletes who shortchange them in all accounts.
To make it all heart aching, is the fact that they do not even have noteworthy performances shouting about.

Athletes had better take a good look in the mirror and realise that there is much more they can give then keep demanding the authorities for the sky and moon.

They has better realise their follies fast enough, before one fine day, the Government might just decide to take their legs of the pedal to support sports because it is losing cause.

Ask what you can do for the nation and not what the nation can do for you!

Produce the results and stand tall and all will be duly recognised. But do not short change the tax payers money and hope to get way scot-free all the time.

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