Sunday, March 12, 2017



THE idea of Malaysia co-hosting the Olympic Games with Singapore has resurfaced.
But for anything to go forward, Malaysia has to first make a stand on fulfilling the first condition by International Olympic Council (IOC) — to accept all members to compete.
Israel skipped the World Table Tennis championship in Kuala Lumpur last year and World Youth Sailing championship in Langkawi in 2015 as Malaysia made it clear they were not welcomed as the two countries don’t have formal diplomatic relations.
Malaysia were also denied hosting rights for this year’s 67th Fifa Congress after FA of Malaysia (FAM) failed to guarantee visas for all delegates.
We hosted the IOC congress in 2015 and it was reported the Israel delegates attended as they had dual citizenship.
However, Malaysia of late has come under the radar and only assurance that all nations are allowed to compete, will see them being considered for any world championships they intend to host.
Malaysia were denied hosting rights for the 67th FIFA Congress this year after the FA of Malaysia (FAM) failed to guarantee visas for all its delegates at the Congress.
The goal of the Olympic Movement is clear which is to contribute to building a peaceful and better world by educating youth through sport practiced without discrimination of any kind and in the Olympic spirit, which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play.
Fundamental principles of Olympism include that the practice of sport is a human right.
Another principle is that the enjoyment of the rights and freedoms set forth in the Olympic Charter shall be secured without discrimination of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, sexual orientation, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.
Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) president Tunku Tan Sri Imran Tuanku Ja’afar had last week after officiating at the Association Internationale de la Press Sportive (AIPS) Asia Congress, said for the second time that Malaysia is considering co-hosting the Olympic Games with Singapore.
Tunku Imran had first revealed of the intention in 2015 after the hosting of the IOC congress in Kuala Lumpur to realise their dream of hosting the Olympics for the first time in South-East Asian region.
In fact it was IOC president, Thomas Bach who mooted the prospect of Malaysia and Singapore co-hosting the 2024 Games at the Congress.
Tunku said having a dual host for the prestigious Games is a possibility under the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) new agenda.
As it was too late to enter a bid for the 2024 Olympics, Malaysia could consider the Games in 2028 or 2032.
However, Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin at the Olympics Games in Rio de Janerio, had said bidding to host the Olympic Games was not Malaysia’s cup of tea as the country is not a medal winning nation.
He had said hosting the biggest sporting show on earth is an unrealistic effort as Malaysia is yet to win the first gold medal at the Games.
He went on to say that hosting such games will only saddle the country with debts and other related issues if the nation is unable to produce consistent medal winners at the world stage. 
However, Tunku Imran said that hosting the Olympics jointly with Singapore can be considered as several reasons look favourable to make the joint bid.
Among the reasons include the cost reduction because of jointly hosting it with Singapore.
He said Singapore could host the opening ceremony and Malaysia host the closing ceremony.
He also cited the High-Speed Rail (HSR) line linking Singapore and Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur (KL) which is expected to start operations around 2026, which would make accessibility between the two venues easy and fast.
“Both nations have existing facilities which are modern and new (Malaysia are in the process of upgrading the Bukit Jalil Sports Complex to become a Sports City in time for the Sea Games in August, while Singapore have their Sports Hub,” said Tunku Imran.
Tunku Imran who is a member of IOC, said that IOC were looking at reducing the cost of hosting the Olympics and were promoting for cities to co-host the Games.
Under the Olympic Agenda 2020 which is the strategic roadmap for the future of the Olympic Movement, IOC have put 40 recommendations which are like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, but when put together, form a picture that shows the IOC safeguarding the uniqueness of the Olympic Games and strengthening sport in society.
Some of the key areas addressed by Olympic Agenda 2020 are:
- Changes to the candidature procedure, with a new philosophy to invite potential candidate cities to present a project that fits their sporting, economic, social and environmental long-term planning needs.
- Reducing costs for bidding, by decreasing the number of presentations that are allowed and providing a significant financial contribution from the IOC.
- Move from a sport-based to an event-based programme.
Tunku Imran added that IOC are now more flexible with the number of sports, where besides the 28 sports Olympic sports under their programme, host are allowed include events under the Agenda 2020 move from a sport-based to an event-based programme.
Tokyo hosting the 2020 Olympics, besides the 28 sports, have included baseball/softball, karate, skateboard, sports climbing and surfing.
Malaysia could include sports like squash, tenpin bowling and karate, which could be medals hopes for the nation.
Of course critics may say it would be better to host the Asian Games.
Realistically, hosting the Asian Games could be more costly despite lesser nation competing, 45, as compared to Olympics, 95.
The number of events in Asian Games exceed 40 and for the Jakarta Asian Games next year, besides the 28 Olympic sports, there is an additional ten sports – baseball-softball, sport climbing, cricket, kabaddi, sepak takraw, squash, tenpin bowling, martial arts sports, mechanical sports and bridge.
Three sports, martial arts has six sports grouped in – jujitsu, karate, kurash, pencak silat, sambo and wushu – mechanical sports has two sports – paragliding and jetski – while baseball has softball too, which actually makes a total of 45 sports!
With the Olympics, there is a cap on entries where there is qualifications and about 11,000 athletes compete, whereas at the Asian Games despite lesser nations close to 10,000 athletes compete.
The funding from IOC to host nations is much more as compared to what the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) assist.
The OCA family is also bigger and further accelerates the cost.
Another suggestion would be to host an “Asean Olympics”, whereby, a number of Southeast Asian nations — Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines and Indonesia — can jointly host the various events.
But logistically, it could be a challenge, a challenge to the athletes themselves and coming to a consensus which sports will be hosted by the particular nation could end in deadlocks.
Under the circumstances, the joint bid by Malaysia and Singapore, looks a better option.
But for anything to go forward, Malaysia has to first make a stand on fulfilling the first condition of IOC - accept all members of the International Olympic Council (IOC) to compete.
To jointly bid with Malaysia for the Games is indeed an interesting concept. But it has to be tread carefully as hosting the Olympic Games is a massive undertaking which will need the full support of both the governments.
Will the Olympic dream for Malaysia come true? Right now it looks a long shot.

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

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