Friday, July 21, 2017

DOWN TO THE WIRE



    


  THE overall champions of the Kuala Lumpur SEA Games will be determined by the country winning between 80 to 90 gold medals and not 100 or more gold medals.
While Malaysia’s target as hosts is to finish overall champions with over 100 gold medals, a feat that would match the 2001 haul of 111 gold medals when we last hosted and emerged champions, Thailand could spoil the fairytale ending.
At the 2001 Games, Thailand attained 103 gold medals to end up as runners-up. Thailand have boldly predicted a 100-gold tally for this year’s Games.
If Malaysia and Thailand’s target are met, it will mean out of 11 participating countries, these two would bag 210 gold medals out of 405 at stake from 38 sports.
While both Malaysia and Thailand managed to win more than 100 medals at the 2001 Games, standards have risen.
Others like Indonesia have always been keen competitors. Vietnam have emerged as a strong contender in recent years.
An average of gold medals won calculated over the last four Games, sees Thailand topping the list with an average of 96 gold; having emerged champion in 2009 (83 gold medals), 2011 (100), 2013 (107) and 2015 (96).
Indonesia who hosted the 2011 edition have an average of 78 gold medals over four Games, winning 151 gold medals when they were host, 53 in 2009, 65 in 2013 and 47 at the last (2015) Games in Singapore.
Lesser countries like Cambodia, Laos, Brunei and Timor Leste, can win between one and five gold medals between them.
Purely based on averages, all indications are the overall champions will win less than 100 gold medals.
Olympic Council of Malaysia, assistant secretary and veteran and experienced sports official, Datuk Sieh Kok Chi, has boldly predicted Malaysia will emerge as champions — based on an analysis he did on winning patterns in the Games’ history and also the events picked for the KL Games.
His optimism stems from the removal of five sports from the 28th SEA Games programme that Malaysia did not win any gold or silver medals — canoe, floorball, rowing, softball and traditional boat race. This reduces the gold medal tally of Thailand by 11.
• Dropping five disciplines of the 28th SEA Games programme in which Malaysia did not win any gold — precision shooting, billiards/pools, keel boat and sanda.
• Addition of seven sports with 54 events that were not in the Singapore SEA Games — bodybuilding, cricket, ice hockey, ice skating, karate, lawn bowls, and weightlifting; Malaysia are strong in all seven.
• Addition of events in existing sports, such as track cycling, rhythmic gymnastics, squash and women’s football. (Track) cycling — sprint, team sprint, keirin, team pursuit, individual pursuit, omnium, scratch race, points race for men and women.
• And as hosts, he expects Malaysia to see between 10 per cent to 15 per cent improvement in the gold tally.
Based on Kok Chi’s analysis Malaysia can finish at the top with around 118 gold if
not more.
But despite all “tailoring”, indications are the battle of supremacy is going to be a close call between Malaysia and Thailand.
Among the sports making waves at international level include badminton, athletics, hockey, diving, swimming, track cycling, tenpin bowling, lawn bowl and archery. But the question going begging is whether Malaysians peaked too early?
But coaches have assured that all is going according to plan come Aug 19 — amidst the fact that many NSAs are still being coy about their gold forecast.
Will Malaysia’s “master plan” to emerge champion fall into place, or will the race with Thailand go down to the wire. The verdict be known on Aug 30 but everything points to the champions buoyed only by about 90 gold medals.
TONY is a sports journalist with close to four decades’ experience
and is passionate about local sports.
He can be reached at
tmariadass@gmail.com​


BLOG VERSION 

Level Field

Champion with less than 100 gold medals?

THE 2017 KL Sea Games overall champion country will be determined with the country winning between 80 and 90 gold medals and not 100 or more gold medals.
While Malaysia as host have declared that they are determined to emerge overall champion and see the need to win more than 100 gold medals and probably match the 2001 achievement of 111 gold medals when hosted the last time and emerged champion, Thailand will be the closest rival.
At the 2001 KL Games, Thailand attained 103 gold medals to emerge runners-up.
For next month’s Games, Thailand have boldly predicted 100 gold medal tally.
If Malaysia and Thailand’s target are met, it will mean that between these two countries out of the 11 participating countries, they would bag about 210 gold medals out of the 402 at stake from 36 sports.
While both Malaysia and Thailand managed to win more than 100 medals at the 2001 Games, the Games standards have risen and so has the standard of many participating countries.
Other countries like Indonesia have always been keen competitors in the Games, while Vietnam has emerged as strong contenders in recent years.
An average of gold medals won calculated over the last four Games, sees Thailand topping the list with an average of 96 gold medals having emerged champions in 2009 (83 gold medals), 2011 (100), 2013 (107) and 2015 (96).
Indonesia who hosted the 2011 Games have an average of 78 gold medals over four Games having winning 151 gold medals when they hosted, 53 in 2009, 65 in 2013 and 47 at the last Games in Singapore.
When Indonesia hosted, there were 44 sports and 545 gold medals at stake. At the 2009 Games in Vientiane there were only 29 sports and 372 gold medals at stake, while at the 2013 Games in Myanmar there were 37 sports and 460 medals were at stake. In Singapore two years ago, 36 sports were held for 402 gold medals.
Just based on the averages of the six out of 11 countries, a total of 418 medals would have been distributed between them.
What about other countries like Cambodia, Laos, Brunei and Timor Leste, who probably will win anything between one and five gold medals between them.
Purely based on averages, all indications are the overall champion will be determined by winning less than 100 gold medals.
No doubt Malaysia have calculated their medal hauls and are confident of a 100 gold medal and more, it is very unlikely to happen, even more so with Thailand equally confident of a 100 gold medal haul.
Olympic Council of Malaysia, assistant secretary and veteran and experienced sports official, Datuk Sieh Kok Chi, has boldly predicted Malaysia will emerge as champions and based on an analysis he did on winning patterns in the Games’ history and also the sports which have been carefully selected for the KL Games.
Among his reasons for optimism include the removal of five sports from the 28th SEA Games programme that Malaysia did not win any gold or silver medals — canoe, floorball, rowing, softball and traditional boat race. This reduces the gold medal tally of Thailand by 11.
• Dropping five disciplines of the 28th SEA Games programme in which Malaysia did not win any gold — precision shooting, billiards/pools, keel boat and sanda.
• Addition of seven sports with 54 events that were not in the Singapore SEA Games — namely, bodybuilding, cricket, ice hockey, ice skating, karate, lawn bowls, and weightlifting. Malaysia are strong in all seven.
• Addition of events in existing sports, such as track cycling, rhythmic gymnastics, squash and women’s football. (Track cycling — sprint, sprint team, keirin, team pursuit, individual pursuit, omnium, scratch race, points race for men and women.
• And as hosts, he expects Malaysia to see between 10 per cent to 15 per cent improvement in the gold tally.
Based on Kok Chi’s analysis Malaysia can finish at the top with around 118 gold if not more.
But despite all ‘tailoring’ indications are that the battle of supremacy is still going to be between Malaysia and Thailand and is going to be a close call.
And with next Games host Philippines and next year’s Asian Games host Indonesia, surely determined to put up a good show, the battle could well intensify.
While the sports and events for the KL Games have been carefully selected to give Malaysia an advantage – as it is usual in all previous Games with host – it is still no guarantee with all the predicted gold medals.
For starters, the National Sports Associations (NSAs) who were very optimistic with their medal target prediction when attended the selection committee meeting in June with the Olympic Council of Malaysia for their inclusion of their athletes for the Games, many have toned down of recent.
In a recent two-day meeting with all NSAs competing in the Games organised by the National Sports Council to determine the actual medal predictions for the Games, many NSAs have started to play down their chances or playing safe.
Among the reasons for their playing down their chances included injuries, opposition for rival countries and in some cases current forms of their athletes.
With the recent performances of athletes at world, Asian and international meets have given a positive impact for Malaysian sports in generally, but has directly added more pressure to perform at the Sea Games level.
Among the sports who have performed well at international level included badminton, athletics, hockey, diving, swimming, track cycling, tenpin bowling, lawn bowl and archery.
There is even questions being asked if the athletes have peaked too early and might have a problems at the Sea Games?
But respective coaches have assured that everything is going well and according to plan and they should have no problems rising to the occasion at the Games starting on Aug 19.
Many NSAs are still coy about making their targets openly, while many have come out openly to express their confidence to win gold medals in their respective sports.
Will Malaysia’s ‘master plan’ to emerge as champions all fall in place, or it will go down the wire having to fight tooth and nail to achieve its target, will all be known on Aug 30.
But everything points to the champion emerging by winning about 90 gold medal.

TONY is a sports
journalist with close to
four decades’ experience
and is passionate about
local sports.
He can be reached at
tmariadass@gmail.com

Friday, July 14, 2017

MALAYSIAN FOOTBALL LOOKING FOR WINNING WAYS ­– NATURALLY




    

ARE foreign players and naturalised players the answer to Malaysian football woes?
The question of foreign players dominating the M-League and a coach resorting to naturalised players to anchor the national team, has been tossed around like a rugby ball.
It has re-surfaced with the latest national coach Nelo Vingada toying with the idea of banking on naturalised players and duly declaring that the domination of foreigners, especially in the striker’s role, has limited his selection of locals.
There is nothing new in Vingada’s panacea because for close to a decade now, the problem has been compounded by the rising intake of foreign players in the M-League.
Former national coaches Datuk K. Rajagobal and B. Sathianathan, who had also questioned the lack of good local strikers, were instead singled out to face the disciplinary board.
As in their defence, Vingada too cannot be blamed for the pursuit of naturalised players as he has to attain results for a good track record in his two-year contract. The Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) only offer a short contract but expect instant results.
Henceforth, after locking in naturalised players, he has to count on local veterans. Sure, he can manage to string a few good results with the older stars and a few naturalised players, but when they exit after two years, the national team is back to square one. The veteran players fade out and Malaysian football flounders further.
FAM ought to address the real issue of a level playing field — the huge presence of foreign players in the M-League (more than 90 this season) that stunts the exposure of budding locals.
Every team in the M-League hires foreign strikers — a vicious cycle. After 14 matches of the Super League, foreigners top the scorers’ list while the best local hitman is JDT’s Safiq Rahim with eight goals while the leading scorer is Lebanese Mohamad Ghaddar with 20 goals.
A revival of Malaysian football will need two Olympic cycles — eight years — and at worst, a minimal six-year programme.
Coaches or technical directors must be hired on longer contracts so they can start working with youth players. Fans too must wait out the long term vision. Or look back at Datuk K. Rajagobal, who, as national coach won the Sea Games gold in 2009 in Laos after 20 years and the Suzuki (AFF) Cup in 2010.
Many who started with him as youth players are still with the national team, including the likes of Shafiq Rahim, Azamuddin Mohd Akil, Amir Yahaya, Aidil Zafuan, S. Kunalan, Safee Ali, Mahalli Jasuli, Badrol Bakhtiar, Mohd Syazwan Zainon and Mohd Amirulhadi Zainal.
So are naturalised players the best leg forward for Malaysian football? Do we want an ‘international team’ instead of a national team?
Latest comes the appointment of a new technical advisor in Dutchman Peter de Roo, following the two-year contract of German Fritz Schmid.
The FAM is also hiring a ‘ranking consultant’. Win matches over better ranked teams, and the rankings go up. The mode for ranking is all tabulated and known to all. Is there a backdoor to a rise in rankings? Malaysian football never fails to puzzle!

TONY is a Sports Journalist with close to four decades’ experience and is passionate about local sports. He can be reached at tmariadass@gmail.com

BLOG VERSION

COMMENTARY   
Level Field

Is Malaysian football heading the right path?

Is foreign players and naturalised players the answer to Malaysian football woes?
The question of foreign players playing in the M-League and resorting to naturalised players to strengthen the national team has been raised and discussed on numerous occasions.
It has once again surfaced with the latest national coach Nelo Vingada toying with the idea of securing naturalised players to strengthen his team and declared that the domination of foreign players, especially in the striker’s role, has limited his selection of local players.
There is nothing new in what Vingada is saying because it is a known fact for close to a decade now at least, but the problem is only been compounded by continuously increasing the number of foreign players intake in the M-League.
And what Vingada plans has to strengthen his team is no surprise because he has to attain results during his short two-year term contract.
This again has been happening over and over where FA of Malaysia offer short contracts (normally two years) and expect immediate results.
What does the foreign coach do? He calls local experienced and older players into the squad as there is a dearth of young local talent, he has too short to build a team around youngsters as he need to produce immediate results and suggests to attain naturalised players.
One cannot blame the foreign coaches for their stance because they want some results to be shown in their CVs during their stint in Malaysia.
These foreign coaches normally will manage to string a few good results with the older and experienced players and probably with few naturalised players, but happens after they leave after two years?
We are back to square one as the older and experienced players will no longer be interested to continue playing their performance would be on the decline because of their age.
We start all over again and make the same mistake as Malaysian football continue to sink further.
Instead of addressing the issue at hand – the huge presence of foreign players in the M-League (more than 90 players this season) which is stifling the development of local players rather than assist in the development.
There is a dearth of local strikers because every team in the M-League hires foreign strikers.
After 14 matches of the Super League, the foreign players dominate the goal scoring list while the best local scorer is JDT’s Safiq Rahim with eight goals while the leading scorer Lebanese Mohamad Ghaddar with 20 goals
We need to reduce the number of foreign players plying their trade in the M-League to give opportunity for more local players to be exposed in the local league.
The reduction of quota of foreign players in the M-League will also mean that State and clubs will be more stringent in selecting and hiring the foreign players, which in turn will see better quality foreign players hired.
But for anything positive to happen for Malaysian football, it will not be an overnight process.
We have to have at least two Olympic cycles – eight years – and at worst a minimum six years programme to achieve anything substantial.
Coaches or technical directors hired must be given long term contracts so that they can start work with the youth and develop.
Otherwise Malaysian football will continue to hope for miracles to happen through their short term plans but end up disappointed each time and not to mention huge sums wasted money which could have been out to good use especially on development and long term visions.
Of course the fans will not be happy as they want to see instant results, but that is not going to happen and the sooner they realise that and support the long term vision and programmes, the better.
Just look back when Datuk K. Rajagobal as national coach won the  Sea Games gold in 2009 in Laos after 20 years and winning the Suzuki (AFF) Cup in 2010.
It certainly did not happen overnight or Rajagobal waved a magic wand and everything fell in place.
For those who have short memory, Rajagobal started off with taking charge of the National Under-19 team in preparation for a quadrangular tournament in Kuala Lumpur involving S. Korea, Brazil, Portugal and Malaysia in 2006. He then took charge of the national Under-21 team preparing for Asian qualifier for the World Youth.
He was involved with the youth team for four years till 2009 when he was in charge of the national Under-23 and national team. He then handed over the Harimau Muda team (Under-23) to Ong Kim Swee and was fully in charge of the national team before he was unceremoniously discharged in 2013.
Many of his players who started with him as youth players are still playing with the national team which includes the likes of Shafiq Rahim, Azamuddin Mohd Akil, Amir Yahaya, Aidil Zafuan, S. Kunalan, Safee Ali, Mahalli Jasuli, Badrol Bakhtiar, Mohd Syazwan Zainon and Mohd Amirulhadi Zainal to name few
Coming back to naturalised players, is it the way to go forward for Malaysian football? Will it do more harm or good? Do we want players representing the nation who cannot sing the national anthem? How long will they don national colours? How will they blend with the local players? Will the local players resent them? Will places for local players be taken up by naturalised players and the national team is an ‘international team’ instead of a national team?
Malaysia is already a multi-racial nation with the Malays, Chinese, Indians, Eurasians, Punjabis and the various ethnic groups in East Malaysia with having their own strong points like artistic and skilful, intelligent, fitness, and strength and built. In short Malaysia has a world class composition and all it takes gelling them together with a fair mode of selection.
It is indeed sad that emphasis is not given to the AFC Under-23 qualifier where coach Ong is struggling to assemble a team when this is the team which should be moulded with the future in mind.
All priority should have been given to the preparation of this team without any hitches.
Latest is the appointment of a new technical advisor in Dutchman Peter De Roo after not renewing the two year contract of German Fritz Schmid which ended earlier.
How much De Roo can change things for Malaysia football is left to be seen.
FA of Malaysia is also planning to hire a ‘ranking consultant’.
As far I as I know, win matches over better ranked teams and the rankings will go up. The mode for ranking is all tabulated and known to all.
Is there a back door to raising the rankings?
Malaysian football never fails to puzzle and amuse!

TONY is a sports
journalist with close to
four decades’ experience
and is passionate about
local sports.
He can be reached at
tmariadass@gmail.com


Saturday, July 8, 2017

PRICELESS SATISFACTION




PRICELESS SATISFACTION

    

WHILE the SEA Games has been the platform for thousands of athletes to have found glory and a launching pad of their sporting careers, it has done likewise for sportswriters.
For young journalists, the games would be their first international multi-sport event — sure test of their endurance.
It’s about whether one can withstand:
·         Newsroom demands, pressure, tight deadlines.
·         Covering multiple sports, hunting exclusives, working round the clock.
They are in a pressure cooker situation for more than a week.
The real test is when we cover the SEA Games on foreign soil because only between one and three reporters are sent by each newspaper compared to TV that normally deploys a large team.
It’s an arduous task for print journalists as newspapers treat the games seriously, opening extra pages to feature Malaysian participation which is usually in all sports.
Covering the games at home is a breeze as the entire newsroom is involved, including general, crime and entertainment reporters.
To date, applications by local print media (reporters and photographers) for KL Games accreditation have surpassed 1,000.
The games have grown into a giant event in recent years.
Recap: At the inaugural Bangkok meet in 1959, then known as SEAP Games, 518 athletes competed in 12 events over six days.
In KL, some 5,000 athletes from 11 countries will compete in 38 sports with 403 gold medals at stake.
The organisational structure has also evolved from an assemblage of volunteers to professional event managers and paid permanent organising committee members who run into hundreds.
Even the chef-de-mission get a monthly salary these days.
The cost has swelled to hundreds of million ringgit which was unthinkable in the early years when athletes were housed in universities.
Many sportswriters, including me, have grown with experience alongside the rapid growth of the games.
I was a rookie when I covered my first 1983 SEA Games in Singapore. My partner was another newbie, Leon Lim.
Our joy came with great fear of having to cover 18 sports, and being in the company of veteran journalists from here and Singapore.
There was no luxury of internet, laptop and mobile phone — just the typewriter.
So, the first thing I did was to purchase Caddie Traveller typewriter which cost me RM270, almost my monthly salary then.
We despatched stories through teleprinters or phoned in the story through pay phones.
Besides running around for daily stories, I ghost wrote Malaysian football captain, Soh Chin Aun’s, column (Towkay).
The Singapore experience served as a foundation to our sports writing.
It paved the way for my stint at two Olympics and two Asian Games as well.
Over the years, I have interviewed scores of athletes from Southeast Asia, a blessing to relish.
This year will be my 15th Games and I will be assisting the Olympic Council of Malaysia.
The SEA Games will always be close to my heart.
The challenges had its own priceless satisfaction.


Level Field (BLOG VERSION)

Media evolved with the Sea Games

While the Sea Games has served the platform for thousands of Malaysian athletes to have found glory or serve as a launching pad of their sporting career, it has done likewise for us sports journalists.
Covering the Sea Games will be the first international multi-sports event for sports journalists and is the acid test whether one can withstand the demand, pressure, working with the tightest deadlines, having to cover a multiple of sports and working almost round the clock for more than a week.
The real test for us is covering the Sea Games on foreign soil because only minimum number reporters are sent by the newspaper organisations.
Print organisations normally send between one and three at most for overseas Games, as compared to electronic media who normally have a large contingent.
And newspaper organisations treat the Sea Games seriously and open up extra pages during the Games and for two or three reporters to cover Malaysian participated events – which normally is in all sports in the Games, is indeed a task.
Only one local organisation is known to send a big team which will include their sports editor, a team of five of six reporters and also sub-editors.
But covering a Sea Games at home is a breeze compared to overseas as the whole newspaper staff is deployed, including news and crime reporters. Till date the Malaysian print media (reporters and photographers) who have applied for accreditation for the KL Games has surpassed the 1,000 mark!
What started in 1959 as the SEAP Games, were inaugural host Thailand held it over six days where six countries competed which saw 518 participants in 12 events, the Games has grown to see 11 countries compete with close to 40 events competed and close to 5,000 athletes participating in recent years.
At the 2011 Games hosted by Indonesia, saw a record of 44 sports hosted.
At the 29th Sea Games hosted by Malaysia after a 16 years lapse, will see 38 sports and 405 events held over 12 days (Aug 19 – 30). There will be 403 gold medals at stake.
The organisation of the Games has evolved from being organised by an organising committee of volunteers to professional event managers and permanent organising committee members who run into hundreds and are paid. Even the Chef-de-Mission these days get a monthly salary.
The organisation budget as swelled to hundreds of million ringgit, which was unimaginable during the early years of the games when athletes were billeted in Universities.
Coming back to us sports journalists, we too have evolved with Games.
I clearly remember my baptism of the Sea Games in 1983 held in Singapore.
I was a rookie and to be selected to cover the Games with my colleague, another rookie, Leon Lim Ewe Beng, by our sports editor, Tony Francis, was indeed an honour.
But along with it came our fears of having to cover multi-sports Games in the Republic which featured 18 sports.
We rookies were going to be covering the events in the midst of veteran journalists like Godfrey Robert, Joe Dorai, Percy Seneviratne Hakikat Rai, Wilfred Yeo, Jeffery Low from Singapore, Edward Thangarajah from Thailand and our very own Mansor Rahman to name a few.
Those days there was no luxury of internet, laptops and hand phones but just the good old typewriter, sending stories through tele-printers or phoning the story through pay phones!
So the first thing I did was to purchase Caddie Traveller typewriter which cost me RM270, which was almost my monthly salary then. 

There was no installments plans from the company then!
Then another shocker came, our editor Tony, called Leon and me a few weeks prior to our departure to Singapore and told us that the personnel department has rejected the nomination of two of us to cover the Games because we were still Cadet Journalists.
Our hearts sank after all the initial excitement of being nominated to cover the Games.
As were about to turn around with our heads hung and leave, Tony said: “I have put my foot down and insisted that it will be the two of you covering for Malay Mail.
“But before you jump for joy, let me tell you that I have put my neck on the line. If you f... up in Singapore, do not bother to come back. Look for a job in Singapore!”
That put further pressure on us.
We travelled to Singapore by road – driving my second-hand Mazda 808, and had for company – beside Leon, the late Joe Marcose who was covering for Utusan Melayu wanted a lift from his hometown in Batu Pahat.
There was no highway and we took the old road and picked up Joe on the way and arrived in Singapore at the official Media Hotel – Sea Breeze at Tanjung Katong – almost six hours after we left Kuala Lumpur.
The next week was a lifetime experience which served as a foundation to our sports journalism career and we passed with flying colours to keep out job at Malay Mail.
Leon has since left and is a pastor, while I still continue to write for the paper.
There in Singapore besides running around for the daily stories, I was doing the Soh Chin Aun column (Towkay) and the team was coached by Englishman Frank Lord who had veteran  players like R. Arumugam, Rashid Hassan, Santokh Singh, G. Torairaju, Khalid Ali, B. Sathinathan while players like Zainal Abidin Hassan, Serbegeth Singh, Lim Teong Kim, Ahmad Yusof, A. Rukuman, Mohd Noor Yaakob and Ahmad Sabri were all breaking into the scene.
Top foreign athletes include sprint kings Suchart Jaesuraparp and Punomo, Lydia de Vega, Wallapa Pinji.
Over the years, I have seen and interviewed thousands of athletes from South East Asia, and this up close and personal encounters, money cannot buy.
From Singapore in 1983, I went to cover 11 consecutive Games till 2015 in Philippines with different colleagues.
Then in 2008, I went for my 13th Games in Korat, Thailand, as a media officer with the then Sports Minister Datuk Seri Azalina Othman before going for my 14th Games in 2015, this time as a sports journalist again for Malay Mail.
This year will be my 15th Games and I will be assisting the Olympic Council of Malaysia.
It has been indeed a journey which I will cherish forever. I have gone to cover two Asian Games and two Olympics and several world championships and premier events of different sports, but the Sea Games will always be close to my heart as I have grown with the Games over the last 34 years.
There have been many memorable moments where I had shed tears of joy and also disappointment during the Games.
On the working field there at the 1987 Jakarta Sea Games my partner, Johnny Yew, fell ill a day before the opening of the Games because of food poisoning and had three days medical leave. I had to cover the Games for three days on my own.
My record for a day’s story count for the Games is 21. At an average when overseas, we send about 8 to 12 stories a day and work with a few hours of sleep (includes partying at night after every day’s long working hours).
How I remember when at the Jakarta Games in 1987, we had to key in our stories at the tele-printers room for ribbons to be sent to tele-printers because the tele printer operators who were supposed to key in our typed stories made too many mistakes.
Those days we had to photostat of run-up articles to the Games, profile cuttings, past records and others, to serve as background information for our stories.
Today everything is available on a click of a button on the computer and even on the phone when one is on the go.
Information is readily available in real time and makes life of a sports journalists so easy.
Sports journalists have even stop asking questions because everything is handed on their laps with press releases with quotes. At the Games there is the Games News service where results are instant, stories and quotes are also available. Thus, it is common sight to see a majority of the sports journalists just park themselves as the Media Centre where streaming of most events is available live.
Stories can be send from laptops and even phones, that computers provided for at the Media Centre is hardly used. Gone are the days when public phones and designated phones at the Media Centres were necessities and hot items.
Even transportation to venues are provided for the Media, when those days we had to hire cars or use taxis.
Indeed, sports coverage at the Sea Games has been made a stroll in the park.
However, I will not trade the experience I had gained through over the years for modern technology because nothing can replace how soaking in the Games and the experience first hand, while every challenge had its own satisfaction, which is all priceless.
Here I would like to acknowledge all my colleagues who worked hard together as a team to make every Games a memorable one.

My partners in crime:
Started with Leon Lim in 1983 (Singapore).
1985 (Bangkok) with Joe Carlos
1987 (Jakarta) Johnny Yew
1989 (Kuala Lumpur) whole sports desk
1991 (Manila) Johnson Fernandez 
1993 (Singapore) Johnny Yew 
1995 (Chiangmai) Reon Renu
1997 (Jakarta) Rizal Hashim, Fariq Rahman
1999 (Brunei) Tony Yee
2001 (Kuala Lumpur) whole sports desk
2003 (Vietnam) Rizal Hashim, Fariq Rahman
2005 (Manila) Mustapha Kamaruddin and Reon Renu
2015 (Singapore) - Wan Norliza Meor Iza Meor Idris 

TONY is a sports
journalist with close to
four decades’ experience
and is passionate about
local sports.
He can be reached at
tmariadass@gmail.com