Saturday, April 4, 2015

Sporting haven in Kuala Kubu Baru


Level Field  

It is time our athletes went back to nature for motivational training before departing for international assignments.
The National Sports Council (NSC) and the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) should do away with team-building exercises for athletes in posh hotels or the comfortable NSC hostels.
A place both these bodies should seriously consider is Kuala Kubu Baru (KKB), which is just a 40-minute drive from Kuala Lumpur.
KKB is a sports haven with numerous sports facilities that are under-utilised.
Lush forests and a cool weather make KKB a perfect spot for sports training but most of all, it is peaceful with few distractions - the town goes to sleep by 9pm. 

Here, athletes can be monitored all the time and they will certainly be able to give their full attention to training.
After all, KKB is where middle-distance runner B. Rajkumar - the Asian champion in 800m in 1985 m - was discovered by teacher/coach A. Tripadi (also from KKB). 
Rajkumar's national record of 1:47.37, which he set on 26th September, 1985, at the Asian Championship in Jakarta still stands after 30 years.
Rajkumar still lives in KKB and he could identify suitable places for training, having done it himself all over KKB's hills, across its rivers and through its different terrains.
The town is also known for having produced top golfers like R. Nachimuthu, P. Gunasegeran and M. Sasidharan.
Tripadi is still a coach with the NSC and I am sure he will be more than happy to head the programme in KKB. There are also two teachers with IAAF certification in KKB at present.
KKB's ample facilities comprise a millennium park that has three fields, including a mini-stadium, a jogging track around a scenic lake, a floodlight football stadium, an IAAF-approved tartan track and swimming pool at its Police Training Centre, an 18-hole golf course and another two in the surrounding areas of Serendah and Bukit Beruntung, a badminton hall and additional football and rugby fields at Maktab Sain Rendah.
Also available here is whitewater rafting, jungle trekking, cross-country trails and many other eco-adventure activities.
For accommodation, there is the National Service Training centre (Program Kidmat Negara at Kem Bina Semangat Yayasan Selangor), which is not being used now because the programme has been temporarily halted, and the National Youth Skills Institute (Institut Kemahiran Belia Negara Peretak), which is managed by the Ministry of Youth and Sports.
For far too long, our national athletes have been wallowing in luxury and training at a place like KKB will bring them back to earth.
Besides, such training will help those in charge separate the real athletes from the pretenders.
All this does not mean the facilities at KKB are lacking. No, they are more than adequate.
At a time when the whole country is cutting its budget, it is only right that the NSC and OCM do the the same and put their resources to better use.
Being based in KKB for training will surely do a world of good to the 500-odd contingent picked for the Singapore Sea Games in June.
The first in line should be the Malaysian Athletics Federation - they should set up their athletics camp in KKB, which would be an excellent satellite training centre, especially for new talent.
Next should be the Selangor Sports Council in preparation for the Malaysia Games.
It is a pity that the excellent facilities at KKB are underused, especially by the state and national associations, which often seem to fight for venues in KL. In all probability, the people concerned will offer all sorts of excuses as to why KKB is unsuitable as a sports training centre. Hopefully, someone will see the sense in 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
Twitter: @tmariadass​

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