Sunday, January 31, 2010

Backroom for sports in schools

This story appeared in the Eastern Times today.

Schools sports taking a backseat ... for now
By Tony Mariadass
KUCHING: The whole nation is abuzz that the Malaysian Schools Sports Council’s (MSSM) annual budget is cut from RM6 million to RM1.5 million, and that from the annual 24 sports organised at the national-level, only 13 will be held this year.
However, despite the sports fraternity and parents outcry, the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Youth and Sports have not responded positively to try to reinstate all the sports dropped.
Among the 13 sports that will be organised this year by MSSM are artistic gymnastics, gymrama, golf, swimming, athletics, badminton, netball, basketball, volleyball, sepak takraw, football, tennis and hockey.
There are further exclusions in the sports - except for artistic gymnastics, gymrama, swimming and athletics. The others will not see their Under-15 category organised.
Schools sports are organised at Under-12, Under-15 and Under-18 age group level.
The eleven sports given the axe include key sports in Malaysia -bowling, squash and archery. Others are table tennis, rugby, cricket, sailing, softball, handball, cross country and chess.
The decision will drastically affect several sports that Sarawak excels in.
Among them are sports that have been totally omitted from the MSSM calendar this year, namely bowling, rugby and squash.
Then the exclusion of Under-15 category in football, hockey, badminton, netball, basketball and volleyball, which are popular in Sarawak, will see their development hampered.
The reason given for the drastic cut is the cutback on funds, which is across the board in all Ministries.
However, the irony is that while there is a cut in domestic grassroots sports, a whopping RM5.5 million will be spent by MSSM to organise the inaugural Asian Schools Sports in Kuala Lumpur.
One wonders, why spend on organising an Asean level championship, when at home, there is inadequate funds.
Another puzzling issue is that fact, that RM10 million was allocated by the Government for soccer development following the National Under-23 team’s success in the recent SEA Games in Laos where triumph came after a 20-year wait.
The Under-15 schools’ tournament that is very much part of development is scrapped because of lack of funds, but RM10 million is allocated for a development programme.
Could not RM5 million be allocated to the schools sports, which is the heartbeat of the future of Malaysian sports?
All these do not make sense and one wonders what the rationale of the decisions is. Physical Education and schools sports activities have of late already taken a backseat and that explains the decline of Malaysian sports in general.
With the move, it is further going to handicap Malaysian sports in the long run.  National Sports Associations (NSAs) have been approached by MSSM to organise the sports that have been axed this year, and several NSAs who have always worked closely with MSSM have already indicated that they will be organising the national championships.
One such association is the Malaysian Tenpin Bowling Congress (MTBC) which have always been passionate about grassroots development.
However, the question is what will happen to many of the sports that were axed by MSSM at the State and district level?
Who is going to organise the events at that level? Not all the State Schools Sports Councils have the means.
Selangor Schools Sports Council (SSSC) were among the few who had said that they will continue organise sports at the State level despite the sports being dropped at the national level by MSSM .
Sarawak, probably is among the luckier states, where Sarawak State Sports Council is proactive and have always emphasised on grassroots developments.
And example is the five-year football development plan run by the Sarawak State Sports Council working closely with State Education Department.
The idea to organise Under-16 School Development League is timely now with the Under-15 soccer tournament dropped by MSSM. This programme should do better than MSSM programme, if it is run on League format over several months with matches played over weekends.
This will ensure continued training for longer periods and playing many competitive matches - which is root of development. Sarawak has undoubtedly over the years produced many top sportsmen and women and should be recognised as a sporting hub for the nation.
The fact that Sarawak has been recognised for aquatics and that world-class facilities are being built, is a stepping stone for the State to be recognised as a sporting hub.
The State-of-art aquatic centre, which is expected to be ready this year, came about after the outstanding performance of aquatics at the Laos SEA Games last month where a total of 15 gold medals was won, with swimming delivering nine and diving six.
Those in the current national aquatics squad from Sarawak are swimmer Daniel Bego and divers Bryan Nickson Lomas, Pandalela Rinong and Traisy Vivien.
Daniel was the pride of the nation when he emerged as the top male medal winner for the country, with a sensational five-gold haul.  The 20-year-old broke four Games records, including a longest existing 14-year-old mark in the 400m freestyle.
Daniel Bego, a fortnight ago also bagged the Coca Cola Olympian of the Year Award for Male athlete at the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) Indoor Sports Arena in Kuala Lumpur. Daniel, the star performer in the pool with five gold medals also won the best male athlete award of the 25th edition of the Games.
The 20-year-old broke four Games records, including a longest existing 14-year-old mark in the 400m freestyle.
It was the second time that Daniel picked up the Olympian award after 2007.
Daniel and all the other swimmers are all products of grassroots development and did not emerge overnight.
Sarawak certainly has tremendous potential to hog the limelight at national and international in several sports and it will indeed be a pity if grassroots sports are neglected by MSSM.
With schools sports having taken a backseat for this year, the Sarawak State Sports Council and Sarawak Schools Sports Council should take the initiative to ensure that Sarawak sports remain relevant for the future, with their own programmes.


Anonymous said...

Aiyaa! Level Field why you so like that complaining about our Goman spend RM 10 mill for our under 23 soccer program. You make like the under 15 sports that are axed are going to kill the future of Malaysian sports.

You look at it this way la. Our under 23 brought back a GOLD in Laos. GOLD dah!and now our Sports Minister is having a long term plan for Malaysia to one day lift the FIFA World Cup.

Do you know that the FIFA world cup is the greatest show on earth. You have more people watching this program that the Olympics.

May be in another 2 more world cup, you will see our Minister telling you sooth sayer of doom, nah , I told you so, and the World Cup trophy will be kept in Foot Ball Association of Malaysia.

Please la, don't grumble and whine like a spoilt brat on the axing of the the 11 sports.

You wait and see !

Mr. Olympism said...

Dear Level Field,

I am glad that MSSM has asked the NSA to organise the sports that has been axed. They quoted the 10 Pin bowling chaps who independently have done so without any help financial help from anyone. Even the Grand Emperor of OCM praised the 10 pin bowling as a shining example that does not live on hand out.

I think what OCM said is good, the NSA if they are passionate about their sports they should not depend on hand out.

With this in line can I also suggest that the 10 pin bowling boys and the other NSA be allowed to send their team directly without going through OCM.

The Minister of youth and sports should come out and make a decree. Look OCM only care about the category A, where everything is paid for by OCM. You fellas in category B are all wasting time in OCM, have no medal prospect will have to pay your own.

Okay to be fair to OCM, if you by any chance get a gold , they will reimburse you and will claim credit and proclaim, you see this Category B boys fought hard to bring back a gold because of our incentive scheme.

To that, I say "podah" to OCM, those chaps go on their own money is because they love their sports. They go because they are proud to represent the country and don the National colours.

So Mr. Minister can you tell the IOC, OCA or SEAGF that certain sports under their respective NSA can apply directly to the Games. OCM can just stick to their category A.

You category B boys; say if you bring home a gold medal, if OCM were to reimburse you, tell OCM to donate the money to MSSM, they need it more than you true Champions do.

Zainal Hashim said...

Well said Mr. Olympism!!!!!

And as for Anonymous (February 2, 2010 10:31 PM) two more World Cup huh??? That would be in 2018 right? Eight years from now! These under 23 guys will be under 31! They cannot run oledi maaa!!! Summore bring back World Cup huh? You so dreaming lorr!!
Develop the under-12 and under-15 from now! Get the cream of the crop, put them on a regimental development program. Send them for overseas stint, during school holidays or have them attached to good foreign clubs on short training assignments, for exposure. Tak payah hantar je Europe hantar ke S.Korea and Japan pun sudah memadaii. When the World Cup Championship comes around these boys are between the ages of 20 and 23, real prime age, developed, trained and mentally strong.
Ok the current under-23 squad did a good job, by winning the SEA Games Football gold. What make you so sure that they will not fumble on their next assignment? What will you do then? Burn them on a stake?
Wake-up…….wake-up from your dream world and face reality. You really want the World Cup displayed in FAM house, with the scripture saying “2018 MALAYSIA” To really have that chance ( and a very small chance too) and also a strong chance to win an Olympic Gold Medal (just in case people like Datuk Lee Chong Wei, our Pocket Rocket Azizul and Josiah fail in 2012, hopefully not) develop these under-12and under-15 children NOW! But what have we done? Not only have we deprived them competing on a national basis, we kill the spirits of many school children. There goes your dream of the World Cup and Olympic Gold Medal!

tonymariadass said...

Dear Zainal Hashim,
I am very glad that there still are sensible, sports loving people who know that for any sports to grow, it has to start from the grassroots, namely schools or even before that through clubs and NSAs.
I did not want to respond to Anonymous, first because he or she does not even have the courage to pen his/her name down. Secondly, this person obviously does not know anything about sports, especially grassroots development. For him/her to dream that from the current 160th ranking, not having won the Asian Youth, the Asian Cup and the Asian Games, Malaysia is going to leapfrog over all the giants of football to win the World Cup in eight years, only tells you this person is a dreamer, or merely writing a load of rubbish because this person has invested interest! Less said the better.
But for all your guys who are championing grassroots development, keep up the good work.
Whether our voices is going to be heard or not, at least we can sleep peacefully for having tried out level best not to kills sports in schools.
But remember, perseverance and passion, will eventually bear fruits.