Monday, March 29, 2010

X-Mail Veteran Soccer Team

(from left - squatting) - K. Viajatheran, K. Ramachandran, Hasnul Ramlan Khairuddin, Lee Ban Tat.
(from left standing) - V.Kalimuthu, P. Vijian, Masaaud Zain, Md Mashraff Mustakim, P. Alagenthiran, R. Subramaniam, U. Supramaniam, Anto Gomez. (Not in Pix) Fareez Prem, S. Tamilarasan.


ANXIOUS MOMENTS........ (from left) Tamilarasan and Vijantheran look on as Kalimuthu and Lee Ban Tat go different ways to clear the ball

X-Mail who made their debut in the IFC International 9s at Club Aman early this month, will be competing in the 2nd Philippines-Malaysia Soccer Festival at the Panaad Stadium in Bacolod City from May 29-30.
The tournament in Bacolod City was initiated last year in October by the former Malay Mail FC team where four teams competed.
This year there will be 16 teams competing with two teams so far from Malaysia - X-Mail Veterans and Sabah Journalists Association (SJA).

Friday, March 26, 2010

Were the right Universities picked to be Sports Excellence Centres?

The general belief that Universities are a graveyard for sports, is fast becoming a thing of the past in Malaysia.
Last weekend, the Minister of Higher Education, Datuk Seri Mohd Khaled Nordin announced that RM10 million is allocated to higher learning institutions under its programme to develop sports among undergraduates.
The announcement appeared in The Sunday Times under the heading -  Varsities get RM 10 million to nurture athletes (read here)
Sports Excellence Centres at universities nationwide are already in place and the funds allocated was to develop selected sports in a systematic method and provide further education for students athletes in order to create "thinking athletes".
The programme was in line with the ministry's goal to have 30 per cent of the country's athletes to be from higher-learning institutions.
Eight universities have already been selected as Sports Excellence Centres which each focusing on a specific sport.
 The eight Sports Excellence Centres are Universiti Malaya (netball), Universiti Sains Malaysia (swimming), Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (cricket), Universiti Putra Malaysia (rugby), Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (rowing), Universiti Teknologi Mara (football), Universiti Utara Malaysia (golf) and Universiti Malaysia Sabah (taekwondo).
Besides the eight universities, other institutions which had the potential to become centres for sporting excellence had also been given the status of Focus Sport Centre.
There are 18 higher-learning institutions with the Focus Sport Centre status
Out of the RM10 million being allocated by the ministry for sports development this year, about RM7.2 million was for the Sports Excellence Centres and RM3.6 million for the Focus Sport Centres. 
All  well and good and kudos to the Ministry of Higher Learning.
But my question is whether a proper study was made before naming the sports to be focused in each particular higher learning institution.
I know for a fact that in 2006 an in-depth study was done by Prof Rabindarjeet Singh who was then with the National Institute of Sports (NSI) on sports adoption by Universities.
 A report was complied and it contained the sports to be adopted by the respective University based on the study made which involved available manpower, equipment facilities which were available and what needed to be purchased and manpower to be trained for the University to be effective.
That under the current Sports Excellence Centres that Universiti Teknologi Mara has been named for soccer is baffling.
What happens to the Chinese, Indian and others who play soccer in the higher institutions.
This alone gives rises to queries if a proper study was actually made.
Several other universities named to be Sports Excellence Centres with their respective sports is also questionable.
Hopefully, a good project will not go down the drain just because there was no proper study before naming the universities to focus on the sports.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Rest of the World wrest Canon Bowling Cup for third time.

Finland’s Osku Palermaa made up for his defeat by Malaysia’s Adrian Ang in the Malaysian Open Masters final, when he edged the latter in the crucial deciding game in the Canon Cup between Team Malaysia and the Rest of the World at the Sunway Mega Lanes yesterday afternoon.
With the score at 2-2, it gave Team Malaysia an opportunity to wrest the Canon Cup, which they only won in the inaugural year of the Cup was introduced.

VICTORS..........REST OF THE WORLD TEAM (from left: Basil Low, Yannaphon L, Osku Palermaa, Kelly Kulick and HL Chien
Adrian started well with two strike in a row as Palermaa had a strike and an open frame. However, thing came to an even when Adrian had an open frame in his third frame.
As the duo battled out frame for frame, Palermaa took advantage when he had four strikes in a row from frames six to ninth and then put the pressure on Adrian.
Adrian had to strike home to see his Team win, but spared on the tenth frame.
While Osku was happy with the victory, he said that it was just over one game.
“A win is always great, but this is just over one game. Besides, Adrian bowled well too and that is bowling. Anything can happen,” said Osku the two-time European Bowler of the Year.
“Like on Saturday, I had the advantage to win, but Adrian won. So I suppose we are even in some ways.
“But really, it has been a great week for me here and am looking forward to coming back here again.”
Yesterday, for Team Malaysia, it was the women who carried the challenge when first Hee Kar Yen defeated Malaysian Open Masters Women’s runner up, Chien Hsiu Lan from Chinese Taipeh (174-169) in Game 2 and Zandra Aziela beat the Malaysian Open Masters Women’s newly crowned champion, Kelly Kulick (221-163).
The three men in Team Malaysia, Zulmazran Zulkifli, youngster Yusuf Abdul Raof and Adrian lost their matches to Basil Low from Singapore, Yannaphon Larpaphart (Thailand) and Osku.
Zandra was obviously on Cloud Nine.
“This is fantastic. Everything worked well for me and thanks to coach Holloway Cheah who made the necessary adjustments for the difficult pair of lanes when he asked me to use a different ball each lane because of the lane reaction,” said a delighted Zandra.
“When Kelly had problems with the lanes and I was settled and had three strikes in a row, I could not have asked for a better start and to boost my morale.”
Asked if she was disappointed that she failed to get past the quarterfinals in the Malaysian Open, she said that she gave her best.
“I am disappointed that I failed to progress further than the quarterfinals and also that no Malaysian women bowler got past the last eight. However, I bowled my best and my opponent Lisa de Rosario was in great form too against me.
“However, I seek some consolation from my victory over Kelly although it is just over a game. The win will definitely help me because it will be a great morale booster and can always look back at the game when the going gets get tough and motivate myself.”
National Team manager, B. C. Cheah said that it was sad to have lost the Cup the last three years especially having come so close to win it.
“It was the same last year when we lost 3-2. It would have been great if we had won this year, but it is not to be,” said Cheah.
“I suppose we will just have to try harder next year and make it happen.”


1: Zulmazran Zulkilfi (143)   Basil Low (Spore) (198)               0-1
2: Hee Kar Yen (174)           Chien Hsiu Lan (C Taipei) (169) 1-1
3: Yusuf Abdul Raof (158)   Yannaphon L (Thai) (213)            1-2
4: Zandra Aziela (221)          Kelly Kulick  (USA) (163)           2-2
5: Adrian Ang (201)              Osku Palermaa (Finland) (213)   3-2

Winners: Rest of the World 3-2

Adrian slays Osku for Malaysian Open title

Adrian Ang slayed the Goliath – Finland’s Osku Palermaa – in the 33rd Canon Malaysian Bowling International Open Men’s Masters final yesterday evening at the Sunway Mega Lanes, to keep the trophy in Malaysia.
 After defending champion, Zulmazran Zulikfli bowed out in the quaterfinals to UAE’s Hussain Al Suwaidi, and young sensation Yusuf Abdul Raof, the other Malaysian in the last eight, bowed out in the semifinals to Osku, it was all left to Adrian.
 The pint-sized 21-year-old Adrian despite up against a much bigger, experience and powerful bowler in Osku who bowls in a unique way using two hands, showed no signs of jitters.
 Call it lucky for Adrian to have won the title, after Osku failed to strike in final frame to win the title, but Adrian stood tall against his opponent and truly deserves the title.
Fresh from having finished runners-up in the Brunswick Euro Challenge in Paris last weekend, Adrian stood firm and kept cool to go about his task, yesterday despite Osku throwing tantrums from time to time over his poor form.
Adrian could not have asked for a better start when he won the first game, 163-147, but went down in the second 200-237 before he won the decider 222-214.
“This is a great feeling. I was up against a bigger and more experience opponent, but I managed to stay focus and go for brokes. My positive approach helped me a great deal. I was lucky in the end when Osku failed to strike, but that is bowling. I am just glad that I was the luckier one today,” said Adrian whose ambition is to play in the PBA Tour.
"However, I  matched Osku and gave a run for his money. After having failed to win the title in the Brunswick Euro challenge last week in a similar fashion as Osku, I suppose today is my turn to win."
With his performance at home, overseas and pro tournaments steadily improving with each tournament, it will only be a matter of time before he realise his dream to play in the Pro Tour.
Adrian won RM 35,000 for his win, while Osku picked up RM17,000.
 USA’s Kelly Kulick won the Women’s Open title when she defeated Chinese Taipei’s HL Chien in a three game decider (184-211; 218-212; 211-201).
 “It is great to have come here for the championship for the first time and won it,” said Kelly the first woman ever to have won the PBA Tour title.
“However, it was not easy. The competition was tough and against Chien, she really made me work. She is an excellent bowler.”
Kelly also said that the difficult lane conditions even made it more challenging for her.
Chien, on the other hand, gave the “helicopter” or spinner style a revival.
Famous especially among the Taiwanese, the style had not made much progress in recent years, but Chien proved that it is still effective, especially on wood surface.
Kelly picked up RM 15,000 while Tsien had to settle for RM7,500.
Zulmazran, on the other hand who was going for a rare – hat-trick – win, saw the occasion get the better of him yesterday.
He was far from his normal self, looked nervous and had problems in his first game against Hussain as he went down 171-235.
Then in the decider, when he needed to spare to win  (four pins), he failed.
After his loss, Zulmazran said that he was not feeling comfortable in the morning before his quarterfinals tie.
“Somehow, the thought of the possibility to achieving a rare treble kept rushing to my mind and made me nervous. In the end, it got the better of me,” said a disappointed Zulmazran.
“I will definitely better prepared and know how to approach when I am faced with a similar situation, but it definitely going to be hard to come by, as it takes a lot to be in line for a treble. Infact, even winning a championship takes a lot, because we have to go through the process of reaching the final.”
However, for 18-year-old Yusuf Abdul Razak who was making his maiden appearance in the Open category and who earned a place in the National Elite squad, it was a dream run for him.
The lanky Yusof having qualified for the semifinals after disposing Thailand’s Ytannaphon Larpapharat, his semifinals opponent, Osku Palermaa, a PBA bowler, failed to intimidate him.
Instead, Yusof gave a run for Osku’s money when he stretched him to three games. Even the setback of having lost the first game to Osku 170-213, did not deter him, as he came back strongly to beat his more established opponent 202-183.
However, Yusof probably lost the battle of nerves in the third game when he went down 159-207.
“I cannot complain one bit. For my maiden appearance, I have done extremely well. It has been a tremendous experience for me and I hope do even better next year,” said Yusof the oldest of eight children.
In the Women’s category, all three Malaysian women, Siti Safiyah Amirah, Zandra Aziela and Hee Kar Yen – failed to get past their quarterfinals and it is indeed of concern for national coach Holloway Cheah.

 Men’s Open Masters Final Knockout Matches:

  1. Adrian Ang (MAS) bt  Shaker Al Hassan (UAE) – 2-0 - 279-191; 238-202
  2. Yusuf Abdul Raof (MAS) bt Yannaphon Larpapharata (Thai) 2-0 - 224-211; 166-153
  3. Osku Palermaa (Finland) bt Basil Low (Spore) – 2-1 – 246-225; 192-215; 210-192
  4. Hussain Al Suwaidi (UAE) bt Zulmazran Zulkifli (MAS) – 2-1 – 235-171; 213-224; 194-186
  1. Adrian Ang (MAS) bt Hussain Al Suwaidi (UAE) -2-1 – 261-187; 238-247; 199-169
  2. Osku Palemaa (Fin) bt Yusuf Abdul Raof (MAS) 2-1 – 213-170; 183-202; 207-159

Adrian Ang (MAS) bt Osku Palermaa (Finland) – 2-1 – 163-147; 200-237; 22-214.

 Women’s Open Masters Final Knockout Matches:

  1. Kelly Kulick (USA) bt Siti Safiyah Amirah (MAS) -2-1 – 196-178; 238-212;224-197
  2. Lisa Del Rosario (Philippines) bt Zandra Aziela (MAS) 2-1 – 168-203; 237-222; 208-190
  3. Jasmine Yeong-Nathan (Spore) bt Hee Kar Yeh (MAS) 2-0 – 209-188; 237-177
  4. HL Chien (Chinese Taipei) bt Tannya Roumimper (Indon) – 2-0 – 215-182;186-169 
  5. Semifinals 1. Kelly Kulick (USA) bt  Lisa Del Rosario (Phil) – 2-0 – 191-188;216-178 
  6. 2. HL Chien (CT) bt Jasmine Yeong-Nathan (Spore) -2-1 185-196; 194-172; 211-202 
  7.  Final
Kelly Kulick (USA) bt HL Chien (CT) – 2-1 – 184-211; 218-212; 211-201 

Friday, March 19, 2010

Astro Arena's joy is others sorrow

The launch of Astro Arena local sports channel (Channel 801) yesterday morning at the Wisma OCM and going on air on March 26, will in all probability see the demise of another sports channel - ESPN Sports Centre and virtually undermine television stations like RTM, TV3 and Bernama TV.
The Ministry of Youth and Sports and to a certain extend Ministry of Tourism's three-year investment with ESPN Sports Centre, ends this year and the launch of Astro Arena only means trouble for ESPN Sports Centre.
ESPN Sports Centre was suppose to stand on their own feet from this year, and there was even talks that ESPN Singapore was supposed to move to Malaysia because of the high cost in the Republic.
However, it looks unlikely to happen and with the exodus of ESPN Sports Centre's two sportscasters, all indications are that ESPN Sports Centre will find it difficult to stay afloat.
Already, their local 30 minutes daily English sports broadcast has been replaced in Bahasa Malaysia. What was seen as a last minute attempt to stay afloat in the wake of  Astro Arena's birth, all indications are that they will find it difficult to do so without any funding.
In the meantime, the main TV stations has also lost several of their key personnel to Astro Arena and this is also going to be a strain on them.
Without doubt Astro Arena, with the cream of sports broadcast personnel on board with them, including several from the newspapers, they are all set to live up to their promise to deliver a comprehensive coverage of local and international sports news, informative magazine and information programme and interactive viewer involvement on-ground.
Astro Arena has also promised to deliver 700 hours of live, local sports content a year, with an additional 2000 hours of replays, coverage of up to 56 hours a week on Malaysians competing at international level. 
Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) president, YAM Tunku Tan Sri Imran Ibni Almarhum Tuanku Jaa'far, naturally was the most delighted man, for it was his vision to see a 24-hour local sports channel for the last ten years.
Besides, OCM will receive RM350,000 annually for their tie-up with Astro Arena.
The Strategic Alliance between ASTRO and OCM where both parties will collaborate and promote Malaysian sporting events regionally and internationally through Astro Arena, is much anticipated and it is hoped that they will live up to the promise and not deviate from their original plans.

THE DEAL...Measat Broadcast Network System CEO, Datuk Rozana Rozhan (right),representing Astro and Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) president, Tunku Imran Tuanku Ja'afar, signing the MoU, witnessed by Sports Minister, Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek, Astro All Asia Networks executive deputy chairman and CEO, Ralph Marshall and OCM deputy president, Datuk Dr. M. Jegathesan.  

Local sports, including the not so popular sports, can expect to benefit from Astro Arena, as they have promised to cover all sports - big or small. 
Minister of Sports and Youth, Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek, who officially launched Astro Arena yesterday was equally excited that he delivered a 23 minute speech!
Chief Executive Officer of Measat Broadcast Networks System, Datuk Rohana Rozhan, who represented ASTRO  said: "In our continuous efforts to be the No 1 choice for Malaysian households, ASTRO is committed to invest towards expanding and strengthening our products and offering through the introduction of innovative features such High Definition (HD) services, digital video recoding and IPTV connectivity"
With all the promises, local sports fans will definitely be anxiously looking forward to the March 26, when they can view local sports 24 hours and 7 days a week!
Congrats ASTRO, and to all those affected by the launch of Astro Arena in one way or other, brave the storm and rise tall again, for you have served sports fans all these years and cannot play second fiddle or surrender now!

 One for the album for Olympic Sports Hotel......(second from left) Former national hockey skipper, Ow Soon Kooi (Chairman of Olympic Sports Hotel) poses with household names in sports, Datuk R. Yogeswaran, Datuk Lee Chong Wei, Datuk Soh Chin Aun, Datuk Misbun Sidek, Mirnawan Nawawi, Zaquan Adha, R. Puvaneswaran, Aidil Zafuan Abdul Radzak and Daniel Bego.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Thomas Cup next target?

Let us not get carried away with Lee Chong Wei's All-England victory!
Yes, congratulations is in order and it is an honour to the country.
But it is not the end all.
To say that the Thomas Cup is Malaysia's next target, is stretching it a little too far.
Yes, we must all have ambitions and aim high, but the truth of the matter is that Chong Wei alone cannot win the Thomas Cup for Malaysia.
Malaysia is now counting on veteran Wong Choong Hann and Mohd Hafiz Hashim, as none of the five players in the squad Tan Chun Seang, Chong Wei Feng, Mohd Arif Abdul Latif, Liew Daren and Chan Kwong Beng seemed to have impressed  to earn their stripes.
Even the Doha Asian Games gold medalist Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong, have not progressed since and to depend on them to deliver a point is like taking a lottery ticket.
When we last won the Thomas Cup in 1992, we had the likes of Sidek brothers Rashid, Razip and Jelani, Foo Kok Keong, Kwan Yoke Meng, Cheah Soon Kiat and Soo Beng Kiang.
That team had experience, character and quality.
It has been a 16 years drought since we won the Thomas Cup for the fifth time in 1992. Malaysia before that won it in 1967, 1955, 1952 and 1949.
The best we can hope this time around is that home ground advantage will play a part, the players train very hard in the next two months, be in their best physical condition and hopefully their determination will see them stand the challenge and hope that takes them through to the final.
In the meantime, let Chong Wei alone to concentrate on his training and forget about all the kenduris, road-shows, awards and rewards!
Remember what happened Hafiz Hashim?
Let us keep our feet firm on the ground, show some consistency and get our act together.
Let us all stop dreaming and face the reality!

Zulmazran going for a rare hattrick title

33rd Canon Malaysian International Open Bowling Championship 2010
Zulmazran Zulkilfi, the defending champion who is going for a rare three-in-row title in ongoing 33rd Canon Malaysian International Open Bowling Championship at the Sunway Mega Lanes, wants to take one stage at a time.
Fresh from the Brunswick Euro Challenge in Paris where he and fellow teammate, Adrian And finished third and second respectively, Zulmazran said that without doubt he wants to defend his tile and win it for a third time.
“However, my first priority to bowl well in the qualifiers and line myself up for the challenge,” said Zulmazran who returned this morning with his teammates from Paris.
As defending champion, Zulmazran automatically qualifies for the Men’s Open Masters Round 1. However, if Zulmaran bowls in the qualifiers and finishes among the top four, he gets a further exemption of having to bowl in Round 1 and proceed to Round 2.
In Round 1, a  total of 33 bowlers – defending champion, 5th to 12 placed from the Local qualifiers, 5th to 12th Overseas qualifiers, top 13 qualifiers from local and overseas pool, and top 3 from the“Desperado” squad – will bowl eight games, before the top 25 qualify for Round 2.
In Round 2, a total of 33 bowlers - top 25 from Round 1, 1st to 4th from Local qualifiers, 1st to 4th Overseas qualifiers – will bowl another eight games before top eight will make the quarterfinals elimination round over a best of three games.
“If I can finish among the top four and qualify for the Second round, it will make things easier. That will be my target,” said Zulmazaran 26-year-old lad.
“However, if I am in the match-play round (quarterfinals onwards), it is not going to be easy for anyone to beat me because I am determined to go all the way,” said the highly charged Zulmazran.
Zulmazran said that he has come from Paris with valuable experience.
“In my career, the Euro Challenge has been the most competitive championship I have competed in,” said Zulmazran.
“Before the start of the Euro Challenge and after having a look at the list of bowlers, I and Adrian were telling ourselves, how great it will be to be among the top eight at the end of the championship.
“Imagine our satisfaction having finished second and third. Of course, I would have been more satisfied if I had finished higher and Adrian won the title. But still it was a great effort by us.”
 Checking out the scene....Adrian and Zulmazran at the Sunway Mega Lanes yesterday checking on the other bowlers after arriving from Paris earlier in the morning.

Asked what they did differently to have achieved the creditable result, Zulmazran said that high competitive field, did not give them any room for mistakes or take things easy.
“Firstly, we had trained here in Malaysia under much difficult conditions and the lane conditions at the championship were easier. But that meant that everyone was shooting high games and 230 was borderline score," said Zulmazran who highest score in the championship was 290.
He fired the hi-score in the early rounds where he spared his opening frame before chalking strikes all the way home.
 “We had to raise our game and stayed focused and minimise mistakes.
“This will be the same approach I will be adopting in the Malaysian Open and I hope everything falls in place.”
In absence of the top national bowlers who just returned from Paris yesterday, the national back-up bowlers were hogging the limelight in the Malaysian Open.
National back-up bowler, Kang Bo Long heads the Men’s Open qualifiers, while Dayang Khairuniza also from the back-up squad leads the Ladies Open qualifiers.
In the Men’s foreign pool qualifiers, India’s Dilbir Singh leads the pack while in the Ladies foreign pool, Indonesia’s Tanya Roumimper leads the pack.
USA’s Carolyn Ballard, the defending champion of the Ladies title, arrived yesterday will take the lanes today together with the national bowlers who returned from Paris.
The real competition will definitely begin today as the scramble for the Round 1 heats up.

Monday, March 15, 2010

X-Mail make their debut with a Cup in the bag

X-Mail in their debut appearance under the name, returned home with a trophy on Saturday, when they emerged runners-up in the Plate category in 2nd International Football Club (IFC) 9s Soccer tournament held at Club Aman.

X-Mail is the former Malay Mail FC team who competed in the Kuala Lumpur Dunhill League, FAM Cup and M-League Premier II in a spate of 15 years from 1987 to 2003.
The former players of Malay Mail FC, now mostly aged above 35 years-old, came together last May to play the annual match against Ulu Klang Recreation Club (UKRC) which was revived after a lapse a several years..
That sparked off the revival of the team, but now as a veteran team.
In October, the team rekindled their longstanding friendship with Philippines FA and especially Bacolod City and Iloilo City, where they used to play in the Philippines Cup in the 90s.
The inaugural Philippines-Malaysia Veteran Soccer tournament was initiated, where the former Malay Mail team finished runners-up.
The success of the inaugural tournament in Bacolod City will seen the tournament become a permanent feature and this year on May 29 and 30, the 2nd edition of the tournament will be held where 16 teams will compete. Besides the Malay Mail team, three other teams from Malaysia will compete.
The Sabah Journalists Association (SJA) have confirmed their participation and two more teams are expected to confirm their participation by the end of the month.
X-Mail was coined to give the team a true identity, as all the players are ex-Malay Mail FC players, with an exception for a few guest players who have joined the team.
With a reasonably good start in the IFC 9s, more is expected to heard of X-Mail.
In the Plate final, X-Mail lost out to Kilat Veterans on sudden-death penalty kicks after the mandatory five kicks saw the team tied at 4-4. Earlier the match ended in a 1-1 draw. Kilat finally wrested the title with a 5-4 penalty-kicks victory.
The players who turned out for X-Mail were Fareez Prem, P. Alagenthiran, Hasnul Ramlan Khairuddin, K. Viajatheran, Lee Ban Tat, R. Subramaniam, Md Mashraff Mustakim, Massaud Zain, V. Kalimuthu, S. Tamilarasan, K. Ramachandran, P. Vijian, Anto Richard Gomez and U. Supramaniam.
In the IFC championship final, Uniplast beat defending champions Wednesday FC by a solitary goal.
 Uniplast and Wednesday FC before the start of the IFC 9s Tournament final 

Uniplast had an array for former Selangor players in V. Murugan, Reman Regunathan, S. Sivaraman, Zainal Nordin, A. Jayakanthan and P. Somasundram turning out for them.
But Wednesday FC comprising social soccer players, did well to give Uniplast a run for their money and only edge them by a solitary goal.
The Dato Webster Trophy and prizes were presented to the winners at the Dinner after the championship by main sponsor Carlsberg's Senior Key Account Manager, R. Ravindran and their function manager, Amy Wong.
 Uniplast after receiving the Dato' webster trophy and medals at the Dinner on Saturday night.

It was indeed an excellent tournament which was organised very well by the members of IFC headed by organising chairman Sufardi Rijan.
It was another veteran's tournament which saw the congregation of past internationals and State players which included the likes of Datuk Soh Chin Aun, Vincent Tambirajah, Khan Hung Meng, Ho Hon Seong, Chen Wooi Haw, Chow Siew Yai, Chan Keat Siew, Koet King Heyong, Yap Kam Choon, Murugan, Reman, Jayakanthan, Somasundram, Zainal Nordin, R. Subramaniam, K. Ramachandran and K. Viajatheran taking the field, while others like Santokh Singh, Wong Choon Wah and N. Thanbalan were present to support the teams.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Studies or Sports or a combination of both?

Fellow sports blogger - Voice-in-Sports or Gandhi - has a very interesting and thought provoking blog on  - "Studies or Sports or a combination of both - Is there a need to re-examine the fundamentals of the Sports Schools? posted a while ago.
Certainly a good read especially for parents, students and anyone who is passionate of sports, especially schools' sports and Sports Schools.
Read his blog here. 

PSC-Carlsberg International Soccer 7's a hit!

IF only the passion and commitment of veteran soccer players is shown by the current soccer players, Malaysian soccer would be higher ranked in the world.
Veteran soccer tournaments are fast on the rise in the country and the number of veteran players and teams around the country is amazing.
Most of these tournaments cater for players who are above 40 years old, but some tournaments allow two or three players who are 35-years and above to add some pace to the game.
Penang Sports Club organised their 11th edition of the  PSC- Carlsberg International Soccer 7's over the weekend and what a hit it was.
There were 40 teams competing`and foreign teams participating, which included teams from Singapore, Indonesia, Australia, Brunei, Hong Kong and the Philippines.
The tournament was for two categories - the Veterans ( 40 and above and three players 36 and above) and Masters (45 and above).
The tournament not only saw some great soccer being played with many teams defying their age setting a pace which youngsters might be put to shame, but it was also a congregation of some great ex-internationals from Malaysia and Singapore.
While some ex-internationals played, others came as managers or coaches, while some just came to lend support to the tournament and catch up with old friends and teammates.
Organising chairman, Dr S. Shanker and his team did an excellent job managing the tournament without any hitches and creating a carnival atmosphere with the many tents for the teams to rest, food stalls and even a massage corner!
With former Penang FA secretary, Datuk Mohd Junid Mohd Noor as the tournament director, former national and Penang player, C. Nadarajan as the technical director and S. Pathumanathan, a pioneer member of the organising committee since 2000 as the advisor, Dr Shanker could not have asked for more able hands to assist him to make the tournament a success.
The tournament played in the vast PSC grounds, saw three fields (not full sized pitches) being used and each match started to the second of the time on the fixtures.
Despite the blazing heat and born dry and hard pitches - no thanks to the hot weather - every one had fun and played some brilliant soccer.
Among the familiar faces on the two days were Santokh Singh, Isa Bakar, V. Kalimuthu, Chan Sze Onn, A. Rukumaran, S. Muraliraj, Jelani Wilastra, Scott Ollerenshaw, Bobby Chua, Abbas Saad, R. Suriamurthi, V. Sundramoorthy, A. Ellangovan, V. Suresh, A. Jayakanthan and Chan Kok Heng to name a few.
After two days of battling it out, it was Singapore's Jurong Western with the likes of Abbas and Sundram who defeated Indonesia's Kwarta Football Club 4-0 in the Veterans final.
Abbas (below) score two goals to show that he may have lost his hair, but not his soccer touches!
It was Jurong Western's (below) first ever win in the championship and they pocketed RM1,500 and took home the trophy.
In the Masters final,  Johor's Melodi Jaya Football Club (below), with the services
of Singapore's ex-internationals R. Suriamurthi, Jelani Wilastra and Malaysia's ex-double international(soccer and hockey), V. Kalimuthu, who is 63 years-old, defeated Hong Kong All Stars 2-1, to lift the Challenge Trophy.

They took home RM1,000 and the trophy.
All pictures by: GS Narinder Singh
Veterans Plate Semi-finals: Melodi Jaya Football Club 1 Port Rangers Football Club 0;
Brunei Veterans 3 Old Stars Brunei Wanderes 1
  Final: Brunei Veterans 1 Melodi Jaya Football Club 0
  Veterans S-finals: Jurong Western 1  Bukit Jambul Club 1 (Jurong won on penalty kick 2-1; Kwarta Football Club Indonesia 3 Royal Selangor Club 0

  Final: Jurong Western 4 Kwarta Football Club Indonesia 0
  Masters Plate S-finals: Singapore Cosmos 0 Bukit Jambul Club 0  (Singapore Cosmos won 3-2 on penalties);
Penang Sports Club 1 Royal Selangor Club 0
  Final: Singapore Cosmos 2 Penang Sports Club 1
  Masters S-final: Melodi Jaya Football Club 1 Perak Veterans 0; Hong Kong
All Stars 1  Brunei Masters 1 (Hong Kong won 3-1 on penalties)
  Final: Melodi Jaya Football Club 2 Hong Kong All Stars 1

Friday, March 5, 2010

No end to selection woes in tennis

There seems to be no end to the selection grouses in tennis.
The latest issue to crop up is the selection of players for the Asia/Oceania Group II first round tie against Indonesia at the National Tennis Centre in Kuala Lumpur which begins this morning.
The controversy began with an email from Lawn Tennis Association of Malaysia (LTAM) Coaching Director, Taisto Sinkkonen, inviting players for a trials for the Davis Cup tie, which was held from Feb 8-10.
The players invited to attend the trials were Khoo Er Yang, Syed Mohd Agil Syed Naguib, Joshua Jordan, Ashaari, Christian, Ariez Elyass Deen Heshaam, Asr Merzukii, Deedat, Oscar Chang, Marcus Chee and Nazim.
Taisto had stated in his email that 2 players, namely Adam Jaya and Si Yew Meng have already been selected and that two more players would be selected from the trials.
The trails were duly conducted and Deedat and Khoo finished first and second respectively.  Ariez and Asri did not turn up for the trials, but the duo have been named to the final squad. 
So what was the purpose of the trials?
LTAM may have the final say in selection of players based on other factors, but was the principle of fair play and honesty adhered in this case.
The question is if LTAM had already decided on the players for the tie, why call for the trials.
The players who attended trials had to take leave from school, incur expenses, only not to be selected. To add insult to injury, the players who were selected, although were invited to attend the trials, did not even turn up to participate in the trials.
It was even said that LTAM had wanted former national players Razlan Rawi and Ashaari Zainal to attend trials, but both declined. 
So whats the take from LTAM?
Yes, there have been complains that parents of players sometimes allow their sentiments to get the better of them in wanting their players to be selected, but in a sports like tennis where rankings is the best form of selection, one wonders why so many controversies.
How is the game ever going going to take off to reach higher goals, when there is constant bickering and dissatisfaction in the tennis fraternity?

Monday, March 1, 2010

False hopes from LTAM?

Just when I thought that the Lawn Tennis Association of Malaysia (LTAM) were ready to change their profile and move on to better things, I get news that nothing much as really changed from the scene in the last 30 years.
LTAM in the last 30 years have been embroiled in one too many controversies ranging from unfair selection process, favourtism, high-handedness of officials to the poor state of the game.
It was hoped that LTAM under the present leadership of Datuk Abdul Razak Latiff, would stay clear of controversies and concentrate on the development of the game with the hope of raising the standard of the game in the country.

However, Malaysia's perennial problem in sports - controversies - has reared its ugly head yet again.
Parent of tennis players have already started complaining about unfairness in selections, ranking systems not followed and made a mockery of, players with indiscipline still condoned by the associations and ad-hoc selection process.
There was even a case where a 24th ranked player got the nod over the No 1 ranked player for an age-group tournament.
Even the selection of coaches has been questioned and many feel the current set of coaches have not done much for the game.
There is even accusation that if players, parents or officials stand for their rights and challenge the authority, they will be penalised.
Basically, although the picture painted to the general public is that tennis in Malaysia is heading in the right direction, beneath all the claims, is that LTAM is in turmoil.
So whats new in Malaysian sports?
While the house is not in order and tennis in Malaysia sucks, we have exhibition matches being brought to Malaysia for millions of ringgit!
How this help the game, I wonder?
The only people I think that gain from these high profile exhibition matches are the promoters themselves.
To make matters worse, these matches are played to near empty Stadiums!
Sadly, this only happens in Malaysia!
It is learnt that letters from parents and coaches have already been sent to the Ministry of Youth and Sports and the National Sports Council, seeking for justice.
It will be interesting to see if anything is done, or the matter just swept under the carpet!