The two-day Malaysian Sports Industry Convention officially launched by the Honourable Prime Minister Datuk Sri Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak this morning at the Berjaya Times Square Convention Hall, could have been better.
Although congratulations is in order to the Ministry of Youth and Sports and the National Sports Institute (NSI) for having organised the event, it somewhat looked like a rushed job.
Either that, or there was a communication gap between the Ministry of Youth and Sports, and NSI.
While top guns, Sports Minister, Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek and NSI director-general, Datuk Dr Ramlan Abdul Aziz, knew what they wanted out of the convention, somewhere down the line, there seemed to be some apparent lack of proper coordination.
It was not easy task to put up the Convention for 500 people and have some distinguished speakers attend, and again the work put in must be appreciated.
However, chinks in the armour were evident, as there were several complaints.
For starters, the invitation list was certainly not vetted thoroughly as many national associations, sports industry players, event owners, distinguished sports personalities and even an official sponsor, were left out of the invitation list.
Yes, there was a good turnout, especially for the morning session when the Prime Minister, was making his appearance, but it could have been bigger and more complete.
Even the official portal - a Malaysia Sports Directory - which was launched this morning was a last minute decision and it was amazing how the portal with all the information was put up at such a notice. There was a Malaysian Sports Directory which hit the stands on Friday and it looked like all information was "lifted" from this directory without proper understanding with the publishers. The matter is expected to be resolved amicably though.
Dato Sri Najib, certainly set the right tone for the Convention with his inspirational speech which he outlined the importance of sports in six contexts:
# high performance # national unity # nation building # healthy lifestyle # sports tourism # sports as an industry.
The Convention itself on the first day had it's high and low moments.
The first keynote address on the impact of the sports industry on a nation's performance by Martin Toomey (below) the General Manager for High Performance in New Zealand and the second on sports education - empowering the industry, by Dr T. J. Rosandich from the United States Sports Academy, had information which has been delivered time and again in conferences and which the Malaysian sports fraternity were fully aware.
The only difference was that despite the Malaysian fraternity fully knowing what it takes to make Malaysia a truly sporting nation and how to excel at the highest level, the implementation process has had hiccups and thus the poor standards to date.
But there was some good information from Datuk Radha Krishnan from UFL, who spoke on Business Strategies in Sports Industry, moderated by Datuk Syed Nazri, NSTP Group Editor. On sports medicine and sports science in Malaysia by Associate Prof Dr john George from University Malaya and Dr Khairi Zawi from UiTM with Prof Rabindarjeet Singh moderating. While the last session for the day on Sports Marketing and Media Startegies in a challenging economy by Sanjay Raina (VP Marketing Astro) and Adam Zecha (Executive VP of Sales SEA ESPN & Starsports.) was equally informative and interesting.
I was also plesantly surprised to see a good turnout for the afternoon sessions yesterday, but towards the evening, the hall was half empty - a normal scene at sports conventions in Malaysia.
It is hoped that there will be a good turnout tomorrow morning at 9am when the convention resumes for half a day before the closing by the Sports Minister.
And for those who did not get invites or missed today's session, feel free to drop by and fill the hall, besides getting some valuable input.
The programme for this morning:
9.00am - 10.00am: Keynote: Managing the Commercialisation and Maintenace of Sports Facilties - (Speaker) Mr Steve Jones - Australian Istitute of Sports and (Chairperson) Datuk Abdul Wahab Maskan (Sime Darby Berhad)
10.00am - 11.00am: Panel Discussion: Optimizing Private Enterprise in Sports Development - (Speakers) Ted Meeka (Consultant Sime Darby and formely IMG) and Tunku Tan Sri Imran (OCM President and Sports Excel). (Chairperson) - Dato Danyal Balagobal Abdullah (Deerama Corp)
11.00am - 12noon: Panel Discusssion: Event management and Sports Tourism - Marketing Destinations Through Sports - (Panels) Keld Kristiansen (Carbon Worldwide) and Datuk Peter Gilmore (T-Best). (Chairperson) Wan Zaleha Radzi (Asia Promote)
12noon - 1.00pm: Closing : Luncheon Address by the Youth and Sports Minister, Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek.