Friday, August 5, 2005

SPORTS MUST BE LED BY SPORTSMEN! (05/08/2005 - The Malay Mail)

Publication : MM
Date : 05/08/2005

MALAYSIAN sports could be better if sports associations are led by
leaders with solid sports background.
This was the conclusion a group of sports officials, parents and sports
lovers came to recently, while watching young soccer enthusiasts attend a
development programme at the Royal Selangor Club.
The million ringgit question on the ills of Malaysian sports cropped up
when Datuk R. Yogeswaran, a former international hockey player and
Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) coaching chairman, raised it.
"Why is it that only in sports we have everyone - from politicians to
royalties - heading sports associations while in other fields, from law
to medical, teaching to business, we have specially trained personnel in
"Won't it be better if former athletes were to be the leaders because
they not only understand the mechanics of sports better, but also have a
good knowledge of the sports and whatever decision taken will be in the
best interest of sports?"
MHF vice-president Dr S.S. Cheema, parents and other sports officials
and sport lovers, who were present, could not agree more with Yogeswaran.
At present, only a handful of national sports associations are led by
former athletes.
Among them are the Malaysian Tenpin Bowling Congress (MTBC)who are
headed by Datuk P.S. Nathan and the Malaysian Cricket Association by Tan
Sri Tunku Imran Tuanku Ja'afar.
The Malaysian Rugby Union (MRU) had Abdul Jalil Borhuddin, a former
national player at the helm, but only for a term before he lost his seat.
Jalil was MRU secretary for 10 years and vice-president for two years.
He is also the president of the Negri Sembilan Rugby Union and founder of
the 21-year-old NS Wanderers rugby club.
The club not only supply the bulk of the national players, but also
conduct development programmes.
They have been organising the Power Royal Sevens since 1999.
Another club helmed by a former rugby player is Cobra or the Combined
Old Boys Rugby Association.
Datuk Krishnan Tan - who used to run Jalil ragged and vice-versa in the
1970s - has been the president of Cobra for the last 10 years.
He is responsible for turning the club into a model for others to
And mind you, Cobra are a private club and they easily put many of our
national associations, who have no development programmes and surviving
on hand-outs, to shame.
Krishnan, who grew up with the club, is indebted to them for taking
care of him when he was young and is giving back to the game what it has
given him.
Krishnan, the group managing director of IJM Corporation, embarked on a
programme which many associations can only dream of, by building a sports
The clubhouse is built on a piece of land which pioneer and life member
Datuk Aziz Ismail, one of the best scrum-halves the nation produced,
assisted to acquire in the 1970s when he was attached to the Petaling
Jaya Land Office.
The complex boasts a gym, squash and badminton courts, training rooms,
dormitories and function rooms.
It was Aziz and a few pioneer members who formed the club in 1967,
decided that they needed a clubhouse at their Utara training ground.
They built a simple one in the early 1980s.
The following decade, another rugby player and then president, Datuk
Megat Najmuddin Megat Khas, together with Krishnan, who was then the
vice-president, started the ball rolling for a proper sports complex.
IJM needed training and sporting facilities and Krishnan got Cobra
involved in the joint project and the complex was completed in 1995.
In 2002, a fund-raising dinner was held to renovate the clubhouse into
what it is today.
Another former rugby player, Home Minister Datuk Seri Azmi Khalid, too
played a major role in the fund-raising campaign.
Besides promoting the sport, Cobra are also into business networking to
secure more sponsorships for the Cobra 10s tournament and the on-going
School Rugby Development Programme
The personalities mentioned have given rugby a new lease of life and
showed that with the right people at the helm, sports in the country can
Maybe it is time former athletes who have benefited from their
respective sports and now hold respectable positions, come forward to
help Malaysian sports.
The politicians and royalties can still be involved, but probably as
patrons and using their clout to secure or raise funds.

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