EVERYONE had their two sen’s worth of comments regarding Malaysia’s performance at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games that ended on Sunday.
This is nothing new as it happens after every Games be it Asian, Commonwealth or SEA.
The question to be asked is did we learn any lessons and improve our performance? The answer is NO!
Nobody says anything critical in the runup. They praise the preparations, set lofty targets and fi ght tooth and nail to include the most number of officials and athletes to the Games.
Nobody wants to rock the boat for fear of being left out of the trip.
Singapore’s Danny Chrisnanta (right) and Chayut Triyachart won the men’s doubles gold by defeating Malaysia.
Now that the Games are over and the dust is settling, everyone is reviewing Malaysia’s performance, pinpointing the shortcomings and problems in preparing the teams and offering ideas to improve the various sports.
But then, all the reviews, reports and recommendations are relegated to the back of the cupboard to collect dust.
Some criticise for the sake of criticising, others with an agenda in mind, many look for excuses and yet others say something to get the heat away from them.
Very few stand up to take the blame or step down from their posts.
This year, everyone is comparing our performance with that of Singapore. That shouldn’t be the case.
Singapore fi nished 11th with eight gold, five silver and four bronze medals while Malaysia ended 12th with six gold, seven silver and six bronze medals.
The city state won the majority of its medals through naturalised citizens who are not even from Commonwealth nations.
It had athletes from China, Indonesia and Thailand who didn’t even know the national anthem.
Six of Singapore’s gold medals came from a possible of seven from table tennis and another two from seven from badminton.
Malaysia’s gold medals came from badminton, squash, diving and weightlifting.
Singapore focuses only on a few sports and it is its policy to grant citizenship to foreign talent who can represent the nation.
Malaysia spreads itself too thin by focusing on many elite sports. But do we want to depend on naturalised citizens to win medals? I don’t think so.
There needs to be proper planning I am sure we have more than enough talent among our 30 million population to do Malaysia proud.
More often than not, we succumb to knee-jerk reaction, planning for short-term success and emphasising elite preparations rather than laying proper foundations.
Malaysian sports need a major revamp from top to bottom. Remove those who no longer serve their purpose, people who have become too powerful and are dictators.
Obviously, there will be great resistance from the incumbents who cling to their posts as if their lives depended on it.
Any plan for the future has to underline grassroots development and set long-term targets of at least eight to 12 years.
If we continue to implement short-term programmes and hope to see results yesterday, we are looking at nothing but disappointment.
I believe Malaysians have tremendous potential in sports, but it has to be tapped well. The right people have to be put in charge and defi nitely, the programme has to be long-term.
All this may sound like a dream, but dreams can become reality if we put our heart and soul into it.
TONY MARIADASS is a sports journalist with more than three decades of experience and is passionate about local sports. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter handle: @tmariadass