Friday, January 15, 2010

Shahidan has every right to question!

This time around, I have to agree with multi-sports associations' president, Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim.
He has taken the Ministry of Youth and Sports and the government, for having announced that a RM10 million grant will be given to the soccer development fund.
The fund was set up following the national Under-23 soccer team's Sea Games achievement in Laos, after a 20 years drought.
Shahidan, who is the president of the Amateur Swimming Union of Malaysia (ASUM) and the Malaysian Amateur Athletics Union (MAAU), saw the two sports contribute 21 of the 40 gold medals won at the Laos Sea Games.
ASUM contributed 15 gold medals - nine in swimming and six from diving, MAAU had six gold medals to their name.

Shahidan's question is simple: "If soccer for one gold medal were given RM10 million, what about swimming and athletics?"(Read the Bernama report here) 
After swimming's feat in Laos, it was said that Sabah will be made the centre of excellence for swimming, but one wonders what is happening to that? Why no announcements?
But Shahidan should not be surprised.
When the very grassroots development at the schools is overlooked, did he think that they will make the right decisions to promote sports in the country to make Malaysia a sporting nation which everyone is talking about?
The Malaysian Schools Sports Council (MSSM) who organise 24 national events saw their annual budget cut from RM 6 million to RM1.5 million and will see only 13 sports organised this year, with several having to forgo the Under-15 championship.
But no effort is being made to look for additional funds to top up the MSSM kitty, but RM10 million for the development of one sports super cedes the development of 24 sports.
It is learnt that the Sports, Arts and Co-curriculum department in the Education Ministry is calling for a meeting of all National Sports Associations of the 24 sports organised by MSSM on Tuesday.
However, it was stated clearly that only 13 sports will be organised by MSSM.
So why are all the NSAs being called?
The word is that they are hoping that the NSAs will organise the sports which have been dropped.
Good move and engaging the NSAs should have been done longtime ago.
At times when several NSAs attempted to work hand-in-hand with MSSM, there were many restrictions imposed on them, that they decided to stay out.
Now that MSSM is in trouble, it looks like MSSM is turning to the NSAs.
But my questions is how many NSAs have the means and are capable enough to take on another responsibility.
However it must be said that there are some associations who are more than capable on taking on the responsibilities, while some already have been working closely with the schools and these are the associations who have excellent development programmes in place and are the ones who are excellent at both junior and senior level. 
But then again, there are many NSAs who do not even have their own house in order.
But for the sake of sports, maybe even these NSAs who are having troubles of their own, should this time around, move into the schools, to start afresh from the grassroots to give it a grand kick start.
It will be interesting to see the outcome of the meeting on Tuesday and what part Malaysian schools sports take.
Here's hoping that commonsense will prevail among all and GRASSROOTS DEVELOPMENT will be the WINNER for the future of Malaysian sports!

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