Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Congratulations Malaysian Young Tigers!

Congratulations Datuk Ong..oops Ong Kim Swee and his Young Tigers for an outstanding outting at the Jakarta Sea Games culminating by defending the title defeating host Indonesia just a while ago.
Kudos to the entire team including the backroom staff for a determined and courageous effort and performance against all adversities.
Winning a title is always easier than defending it. And against all odds, including being drawn in the "Death Group", the team overcome all obstacles to win the gold.
The accolades will continue, but it is  suffice to say a job well done and let us look ahead.
Having won the Sea Games gold medal two years ago in Vientaine Laos, the Suzuki AFF Cup in Jakarta last year and now defending the Sea Games gold, it certainly confirms the Malaysian Young Tigers as the best in the region. 
It only underlines there is future, but we have to keep our feet firm on the ground and plod on.
Cut all the celebrations, going overboard, heaping with rewards and above all getting arrogant.
At this point let us also not forget that where we have reached today, did not happen overnight.
Let us not forget Datuk K. Rajagobal.
It is now time for all to join hands to work as a unit. Let us not have prima donnas.
Let us not forget the national team had failed to beat Singapore to advance further in the pre-world qualifiers.
We need continue to groom more youngsters to have a bigger pool of players. Keep the Under-17 and Under-19 teams and continue to give them equal emphasis. We need to play more international and highly competitive matches.
There is still a lot more work to be done.
Having done well in the Asean and Sea Games region, let us now look at the Asian level. This is going to be a humongous task, because this is where the real challenge is.
To be among the top four in Asia it is going to take a lot more sacrifices, hard work, determination, discipline and raising the game to a much higher level.
This is not going to come overnight and only patience and continued persistence is going to keep us on the right track.
So until we reach that Asian standard, let us not rest on our laurels on the achievements at the lowest level of competition in the world.
But for now, congratulations again Ong and Yong, my course mates when doing our FAM 'B' licence in Penang in 2001.
And also congratulations and a big thank you to Dez Corkhill, the Managing Editor of Astro Arena, who was commenting on the Sea Games soccer final for the English transmission on Channel 801 (Astro Arena). You saved the night with your commentary which was music to the ears and made it bearable to watch the final with a sound mind and not pulling my hair!
Let us get professionals and not fans commenting!
Thank you again Ong, the Young Tigers and Dez for making it a grand night watching the final in the comfort of my room.

Monday, November 21, 2011


Monday, November 21st, 2011

THE Indonesia SEA Games organising committee pushed the medals presentation ceremony for the men’s 4x400m from the same day to the following day, it has emerged.
The reason for doing so was not immediately known. And our officials at the Games remain in the dark.
Still, the leadership of the Malaysian contingent and the National Sports Council (NSC) are accountable.
Strangely, no one, including the NSC, the Malaysian Amateur Athletics Union (MAAU), the chef-de-mission of the Malaysian contingent Datuk Naim Mohamad and our media at the Games failed to question the ceremony switch.
The blame was put squarely on the MAAU, whose officials did not explain the debacle either.
Rather, they allowed themselves to be set upon by the nation and athletes, notably Noraseela Khalid who after winning her fourth SEA Games 400m hurdles, slammed the shoddy treatment the winning 4x400m quartet suffered at not being allowed to receive their medals because they had to go home.
Back here, the issue of the quartet returning home before receiving the gold medal drew flak from Members of Parliament in the Dewan Rakyat.
Sports officials should have known that it’s the norm for medals presentation of an event to be held on the same day not sooner than 40 minutes to the end of the day's programme.
So, how come no one knew about this protocol? It has been a routine all this while and incredibly 26 editions of the SEA Games later no one is aware of it.
The obvious people to direct the query would have been the organising committee and the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) delegate.
Had they done so, we would have known by now why the 4X400m quartet of Muhammad Yunus Lasaleh, S. Kannathsan, Schzuan Ahmad Rosley and P. Yuvaaraj were not on the rostrum.
Instead, the blame game goes on. To be sure, the MAAU was clearly at fault for not pushing the matter with the relevant authorities.
And now, swamped with scorn, the MAAU is being forced into making a humiliating apology to the athletes and the nation. The NSC thinks it’s in the clear.
Take me to task, but I will reaffirm that some officials at international sports meets are as useful as an ashtray on a motorbike.
Just so you think I am an armchair critic, I say this with conviction and experience, having been a communications and media officer with the International Hockey Federation. It was my job to know every component of a tournament.
Surely, at the 26th SEA Games in Palembang/Jakarta, the track and field and NSC officials had to know that at every multi-sports meet, the medals presentation of an event is always held on the same day?
Surely, they knew that if it didn’t happen, the first thing to do was to contact the organising committee and subsequently make arrangements to retain the squad there for the presentation ceremony the next day.
Don’t even go into cost of keeping the four lads there for a day. The cost of holding them there for an additional day would not rile up anyone especially after Deputy Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Razali Ibrahim discloses in Parliament today how much of the taxpayers’ money had been spent on sending sports officials and observers to the SEA Games.
Consider this: 608 athletes, including 253 under Category B, and 261 officials – a ratio of one official for every 2.33 athletes – form the official contingent to the Games.
Accreditation cards had also been issued to 279 observers and 59 VIPs, swelling the number of non-athletes to a staggering 599.
MAAU did nothing wrong to book the athletes to return the following day after the event because no one would have thought the medal presentation would be postponed to the following day.
The organising committee and the IAAF delegate did not carry out their responsibilities.
The MAAU, however, flopped in not making arrangements to retain the squad after they were told about the postponed medals presentation ceremony.
This is when you think how much worse it could get. The plight of the newly-installed SEA Games 4x400 metres gold medallists gets us thinking how much longer taxpayers can tolerate incompetence by officials.
Sports officials on jollies at the SEA Games, expensive non-producers, have sparked yet another parable for all that is wrong with team management: a tale of ineptness and waste that those responsible should be shamed.
The word ‘blunder’ is over used. This is, however, a true blunder. But so casual is the attitude to the letdown of the four lads that no one is being held to account, and the careers of those involved carries on as if nothing had gone wrong.
The quartet of Lasaleh, Kannathsan, Rosley and Yuvaaraj had promised to deliver the ultimate performance, the one which would lift them beyond compare. That performance was delivered.
Their gold medal achievement was always about the underdog. They bowed. They beamed with sheer pleasure. They knew they had achieved something stunning.
The boys were B-listers having failed to meet the timing of the third placed team in the last Games, which if they did would have earned them A category under the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) qualification.
The MAAU’s heart might be failing. The MAAU might even be on its way to intensive care, but the ‘shock’ of this quartet’s splendid victory will hopefully resuscitate the competitiveness and spirit of our athletes and bring team management back to life and usefulness.
Till then, everything smacks of extraordinary failure of leadership: that the athletes were not on the rostrum to bask in their moment of glory for the medal presentation ceremony; that they had to fly back because their tickets had been booked for the return flight; that the MAAU’s attempts to reschedule their flight were futile.
It was flawed from the outset and reeks of poor planning and disrespect for the athletes.
Clearly, it shows that the MAAU leadership is weak and has lost credibility, especially when its own athletes vent their frustration at the state of affairs of athletics in the country.
The nation’s fury burst out in a flood of invective of a kind the MAAU and certain sports bodies are accustomed to hearing.
No one was saying sorry. Everyone had an excuse and there was even this ludicrous proposal by chef de mission Naim Mohamad to hold a special function to honour the quartet in Kuala Lumpur.
“We will set up a podium and they will be presented with their medals after which the national anthem will be played. It will be held exactly like the medal presentation ceremony.” Sir, I trust you will be standing by their side during the ceremony.
Sir, how come you did not know that the medal presentation ceremony had been changed? You told the media: “This has all happened because of the last minute inclusion of the four athletes. Since they came under Category B, they were put on a fly-in the first day and fly out the next day after the event. Out ticketing agent followed the flight advice given by the MAAU.”
Sir, you said the MAAU should have known in advance the time of the medal presentation. Did you as leader of our contingent?
I ask: One night in Jakarta too much to ask for four lads who provided that endearing, heroic moment in this SEA Games?
Or should I ask: Why a special flight for the Malaysian football squad back home after the final against Indonesia tonight?
The special flight should have been for Lasaleh, Kannathsan, Rosley and Yuvaaraj.


The truth is out about the victory ceremony for the Sea Games 4 X 400 event which was held a day after the event which forced the Malaysian winning quartet to miss the ceremony because they were booked to fly out back to Malaysia on that day.
It is learnt that the medal presentation was postponed to the next day by the organisers.
At every Games, the medal presentation of an event is always held on the same day not sooner than 40 minutes to the end of the day's events.
So can MAAU be faulted to have scheduled the athletes to return the day after the event?
It is a surprise the Media did not check this point with the Indonesian Sea Games Organising Committee or the IAAF delegate for athletics who is in charge of all proceedings of the event.
Was there an hidden agenda in putting the blame on MAAU for the quartet missing the victory ceremony?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Have we really done well at the SEA Games?

Everyone is beating their chests having surpassed the Sea Games gold medal target of 45.
But really has Malaysian sports done well at the Games?
Leave host Indonesia aside, but Malaysia is still trailing behind Thailand and Vietnam.
And rubbing the salt to Malaysian sport, surely must be Vietnam being above Malaysia in the gold medal haul. Singapore is close at Malaysia's back.
Even if we reach the 60 gold medal mark and still lagging behind or edged them narrowly countries like Vietnam and Singapore, can we call it a success?
Is it a success for Malaysian sports when the money spent on sports is huge.
And mind you, we are talking about success at the lowest level of sports in the region. It is not the Commonwealth, Asian or Olympic Games.
And do not say that we have to start somewhere because we have in the Sea Games since it's inception in 1959 in Bangkok.
And many of the athletes who brought honours are veterans of the Games - four to five Games at least, while some have more Games under their belt and in the twilight of their sporting career!
If the bulk of the gold medals were won by Malaysia's young and budding talent, yes we have done well. But this is not the case.
And let us hope that we do not again go overboard if we defend and win the soccer gold.
Yes, the Malaysian team has improved, but still has  along way to go and still not up to the mark of Sea Games teams in the past.
One television commentator commented: "The standard of the Malaysian team has improved tremendously as compared to the rest of the teams."
The truth of the matter is: The standards of the other teams have dropped and Malaysian team has made some improvement which has enabled them to get past their opponents.
Analysis each match Malaysia has played and not in a single match have their stamped their authority or class in totality.
Even against Myanmar yesterday, it was a opportunist gold which snatched the win. Yes a win is a win, but a good team does it with class.
I am not belittling the national Under-23 team. Congrats for making the final and all the best for the final tomorrow. But just do not get carried away with another Sea Games success.
Reach the Asian championship or Asian Games semifinals, and that is truly a marked improvement for Malaysian soccer. Mind you, I am not even talking about a gold medal at both the championships.
The sooner, sports officials stop living in their dreamland and be satisfied with mediocre success, the better chance Malaysian sports has of moving to higher levels.
Maybe, Malaysian sports has been starved of success, that we grab on to any success and try to console ourselves.
It is like if someone was drowning. He will even try to cling on to a  straw to try and safe himself!
Good luck Malaysian sports.


Everyone is pointing the finger at MAAU for the Malaysian 4 X 400m Sea Games gold medal winning relay quartet's return without being present for the victory ceremony.
Yes, MAAU should be questioned for overlooking this quartet of Muhammad Yunus Lasaleh, S. Kamnnathsan, Schuan Ahmad Rosley and P. Yuvaaraj from the start despite the strong recommendation from their coach K. Jayabalan and only allowed them to compete after a last-minute trials.
MAAU sending them under the 'B' category is no fault of MAAU because under the OCM qualification under 'A' category, they had to meet the last Games third placing - which the quartet did not.
Yes, MAAU could have booked the quartet to return a day after their race instead of the next day. But was it MAAU who did the booking? Or if they did, did anyone check with MAAU whether they had attempted to book the athletes to come the day after? Maybe there were no seats available and flying back the next day was the only option.
Okay, MAAU is at fault in anycase. It has been decided by the Media, the Sports Ministry, NSC, fellow athletes and the public too.
Now here is the million ringgit question which many closed their eyes to - How come the Chef-de-Mission or his deputies, the Sports Minister or his deputies, the National Sports Council, the many State Sports Council heads who were in Jakarta and the many Datuks present at the Games and sponsors, failed to come forward to be saviours and book the quartet in another flight and put them up for another night so that they could have collected their medals.
No one came forward, but everyone criticised MAAU.
Afterall, it was only about four air-tickets from Jakarta which would have at most cost RM2,500 and one night's accommodation!
It is sad that everyone joins in the bandwagon to critise, but are not pro-active and think of immediate solutions.
I think everyone should take the blame for the quartet missing the victory ceremony.
Just one more question - if the quartet had failed to win the gold medal, what would have been the scenario?
Let us not all not join in the bangwagon when it suits us and jump off it when it does not!
This is Malaysian sports for you.
In anycase Kudos to the quartet.
And it give food for thought about sending athletes who are in the fringe to making the qualification mark or budding athletes who have potention and need to be groomed.
This calls for OCM to make a stand on the third placing qualification mark and also NSC who should be funding 'B" category athletes who have potential and in the name of development.
Afteral, NSC is the one that us claiming that they are into development big time. Whether it is in their scope of job, that is another question only they can answer.