Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The young and glamorous

All the youth programmes may come to a zero, if the "glamour" issue among the young generation of sportsboys and girls is not addressed.
It has been on the scene for sometime, startin
g with the soccer boys when the game in the country went professional and they were earning high wages.

It was a common sight to see soccer players gel their hair, used netting to keep their hair in place, dye their hair and wearing matching colour boots for competitive matches.

Then off the pitch, they dri
ve fancy cars fitted with expensive audio system, seen at the hottest clubs with young and attractive women.

It was no different with the badminton boys.

A recent example is how the doubles players Koo Kien Keat
and Tan Boon Heong turned glamour boys overnight after their 2006 Asian Games gold medal. What has happened to their World No 1 status in 2007, which has now dropped to sixth.

And more recently, I see it happening in bowling. Bowling is among the sports who have a good development programme and always churn out new faces who gone on perform.

At the Singapore Open championship earlier this month, there were 23 youth bowlers, eight back-up members and the elite squad of 15 for a total of 46 bowlers.

The National Sports Council (NSC) was generous enough to send a big squad because it was just across the causeway and for the exposure of these young bowlers. Besides they could travel by bus.

But two weeks earlier, NSC had turned out a request to send a team of four boys and four girls for the first time in ten years for the Asian Schools championship in Hong Kong because of financial constraints. Malaysia were only represented by Malaysian Schools Sports Council team, unlike in the previous years had two teams, returned for the first time without any gold medal.

Coming back to Singapore, there is no question of the discipline of the young bowlers who all call their coaches "Sir". They show them the utmost respect. They turn up everyday at the Bowling Centre despite having fallen out of the competition, to cheer the rest competing.

But what was alarming,was that several young bowlers, after trying to qualify for the respective Masters cate
gory for five times (paid for by NSC), they just wanted to give up. They were not prepared to pay their own qualifying games. Maybe they did not have the money. But that could have been addressed if they spoke to the officials. It was just that they just threw in the towel and only coaxing by the coaches that they attempted further.

But their minds already set on giving up, it was little wonder that they did not qualify even with the extra attempts.
On the other hand, there were other senior bowlers including Sharon Koh, the winner of the Women's Masters, who attempted for another six times (total 11) before she made the cut.
(The top three winners at the 42nd Singapore Internartonal Open - from left - Sharon Koh, Siti Safiyah Amirah and Shalin Zulkifli)

Some of the men bowlers bowled to about 4am in the morning to make the cut.

And with so many youth bowlers, some were even heard saying that they were in Singapore to make the numbers.

While a majority of the young bowlers religously stood behind the lanes to support their teammates who were still competing, there was a small group busy among laughing and having fun at one corner of the Centre and at times had to be told to tone down so as not to disturb the concentration of those bowling.

Maybe they were just being boys and girls, but something tells me that these breed of bowlers will find it hard to match the discipline, committment and determination of the senior bowlers.

And I am sure this phenomenon is also experienced in other sports.

Can it be addressed or are we just having to give in, and come to terms with the fact that this is the new generation.

But at the end of day,in sports,whether it be bowling,football,badminton or any other, if there is no element of sacrifice, discipline, determination, dedication and passion, one will fall flat.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

NSA/SSAs need to change their approach to the game and their athletes need to toe the line.

The element of sacrifice, discipline, determination, dedication and passion is almost all has disappeared from either both the officials or athletes. Only some still shows it (a small minority which are getting smaller by the year).

What are to become of the sport if all these minority sports officials both volunteers & paid(administrators , coaches and managers) were to die a nature death?...will there be a second liner who are as dedicated, determined, passioned to take over?

We need to change our mindset of how the sports need to be governed both administrative and the disciplined of athletes/officials.

If an athlete misbehave will he/she be disciplined or chastised? Similarly will a team official/sports association member be given the same discipline orders? Yes, they should as No one is above the governing body discipline.

If there's a lack of it...improve it. Changes has to be done before the rot takes hold of it. If the gangrene is bad...amputate the part that is bad to save the rest. This drastic action has to be nipped at the soonest possible time.

Let us show them (young sports men and women) the way to be determined, disciplined and committed by us being the same (young or old).