Monday, June 18, 2012

Old story, new cover

Tony, I take exception to your comments that there will be more officials than athletes. This is a fact take cycling alone you not only have the coaches and his assistant, you have your team of support staff including the physiotherapist. However Tony what is your beef? If you were to ask OCM , they will tell you that they have 2 classes of people. The medal prospect will travel free and the rest who goes for the games will have to go at their own expenses. I am not referring to the Olympics but the SEA Games. If they go on their own expenses, OCM is prepared and willing to issue the accreditation card to them. Ask Kok Chi he will tell you that OCM encourages the development of sports in Malaysia, so long as the team is not an embarrassment to Malaysia.
This comment was posted on my blog on 19th April, 2012. I had choose not to respond then, because it was only a matter of time, what I had mentioned in EMBROILED IN CONTROVERSIES, was eventually going to happen.
To Hang Tuah, I am sure is a high ranking official in the cycling fraternity, who had taken exception to my posting and questioned what was my beef, really Hang Tuah, if you have been in sports long enough, you would not have been blinded by all that is happening around you. I am not saying all sport associations have not done well or are not transparent, but there are still many amateurish associations and sportsmen and women in Malaysian sports.
Just look at the development leading up to the London Olympics and you will know what I mean.
From an athlete wanting her husband to be beside her instead of her coach, a prominent Media personnel coming out to say they are going to set up a fund for the athlete's husband to travel to London and no less than his honorable PM himself pledging to assist the athlete.
What are taking about here, Is it compassionate feelings or seriously about winning a medal at the Olympics. Let us get our act right. This would not have happened in China, Korea or Japan!
Many may say that I am sounding cruel, but in Malaysian sport one has to be cruel to be kind, because our Malaysian sportsmen and women are a pampered lot.
Just ask a Korean national athlete, no matter what sport, what does it to take to be one and maintain his or her place!
With the all facilities and money readily available in our country, we are still trying to win our first gold medal at the Olympics? We are even dangling millions of ringgit to win the gold medal. Will it happen? I do not know. But I will bank on the poor cousins of some sports who get abundance of funding, in saying that I will not be surprised if we get our elusive gold from the divers or archers
And to Hang Tuah, there is no need for me to ask OCM on the criteria of selection and athletes going to SEA Games because I am fully aware of it having covered 13 Sea Games since 1983. And if I was to start on the circus that goes on in the Sea Games, it will be a blockbuster comedy movie. Let us not get there. Just clean up you own respective houses and be serious of your sports, act professionally and there will be hope to produce results. To those who have been producing results, kudos to you and continue your good work and maybe the other associations should emulate them.
Then again, do not get satisfied with mediocre results or being Jaguh Kampungs! Aim high to be the best in Asia not at Asean or SEA levels. Yes, we all have to take baby steps before realising our dreams and goals. But for how long are we still trying to walk! We have to move onto the fast track and take drastic measures to bring the best of our athletes. We should not be wasting time with athletes who do not have dreams or the heart to make sacrifices.
But then again, this is Malaysia. We have a big heart and are accommodating lot. We will continue to believe in athletes who have failed time and again, look at short cuts to success, don't pay enough emphasis on development or schools sports and their facilities
If we want more Malaysian champions take a hard look at Datuk Nicol David. Look at the sacrifices she has made, the determination she has each time she takes to the court and the discipline in her.
Or look at Datuk Lee Chong Wei on what he has to do to remain the top badminton player in the world. Checkout out what he had to go through to become the best.
So till we have athletes who hardcore sportsmen and women, we will continue to hope to win medals and reach the top, only to be let down each time.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

So much for transparency

A genuine sportswriter from Malaysia has been denied an opportunity to cover the world's greatest sporting event - the London Olympics next month.
Instead a journalist from a newspaper who does not have a dedicated page for local sports, a journalist who is not a sportswriter (at least presently) and who was based overseas when he applied for the accreditation to the Olympic Council of Malaysia, will be among the ten privileged sports journalists heading to the city of London.
Apparently this journalist had applied for the accreditation saying that since he was based in London, he wanted to cover the event and will be of assistance to the Malaysian contingent of journalists.
Question: Why could he not have applied as a correspondent in London in London itself?
For the record, Malaysia for this Olympics have been accorded by  the London 2012 Olympics Games Organising Committee 10 accreditation for journalists and 4 for photographers, as compared to the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, where 8 journalists and 4 photographers were given accreditation and were issued as follows:
Bernama - 1 journalist, 1 photographer; Berita Harian - 1 journalist, 1 photographer; Nanyang Siang Pau - 1 journalist only; New Straits Times - 1 journalist, 1 photographer; Oriental Daily - 1 journalist only; Sin Chew Daily - 1 journalist only, The Star - 1 journalist, 1 photographer; Utusan Malaysia - 1 journalist only.
For London 2012, with two more journalist accreditation, it was said that the distribution would be more or less the same as in 2008, except that accreditation would not be given to The Oriental Daily, as it has limited circulation.  The main reason accreditation was we given to The Oriental Daily for the 2008 Olympic Games was because was held in Beijing, China.  No accreditation was provided to a Tamil language paper, but this around one was offered. Was Harian Metro, Kosmo or The Malay Mail  offered a accreditation this time around, I do not know. What about many of the regular sports bloggers? Should they not be considered too?
Was the Sportswriters Association of Malaysia (SAM) involved in the fair distribution of the accreditation?
But R. Nadeswaran of The Sun, who was based in London, had applied for one journalist accreditation.
Nadeswaran has since returned to Malaysia after his 18-month sojourn in London earlier this year and is the editor (special and investigative reporting) at the Sun in Kuala Lumpur currently.
Is it fair for him to be accorded the accreditation.
But he has been to the European championships. That should qualify him as a sports journalist. But was it a sponsored trip or an official trip from The Sun.
Even in this case for the London Olympics, it would be interesting to find out if he is going on his own, or sent officially by The Sun.
Olympic Council of Malaysia secretary-general, Datuk Sieh Kok Chi had this to say:" At the time of application of accreditation, Nades was based in London."
Did Nades know that his stint was going to end soon when he applied? Only he can answer that, although many say that he knew his stint was coming to an end.
I for one know how difficult it is for a sports journalist to get to cover an Olympics.
Some sports journalists have never covered the event even once in the career, as most of the time, the editors or the most senior sports journalists are assigned to the Olympics.
I was lucky as sports journalist to have been assigned to cover 2000 Sydney Olympics.
Indeed lucky, because I was accorded accreditation at the eleventh hour.
The Malay Mail was not among the privileged newspapers to be given automatic accreditation, but we had applied and was put on stand by. And the number of accreditations for 2000 was definitely much lower.
A month of so before the Sydney Olympics, Datuk Sieh called to say that Sin Chew Jit Poh will not be sending their journalist for the Games because of financial problems.
I was then offered the accreditation. But there was a catch.
Datuk Sieh said that if I was to apply under The Malay Mail, there was no guarantee that I will get the accreditation because the process was for the accreditation was to be returned to the Games Organising Committee and it will then be put in a pool and reissued depending on the number of applications and other criteria used.
He told me that the only way The Malay Mail will get an opportunity to cover the Sydney Olympics was just to make a name change but maintain the organisation!
Yes, I went to my only Olympics wearing an accreditation card bearing Sin Chew Jit Poh as my organisation.

New Straits Times Dan Guen Chin who was covering the Sydney Olympics and my roommate at the Media Village, would tease me daily and introduce me to his friends and other media colleagues from other nations as a journalist from a Chinese daily!
But I covered for The Malay Mail and am proud that I was among the few sports journalists from the newspaper who had gone for the Olympics, although with a Sin Chew Jit Poh accreditation! It was a moment to be savoured in my close to 30 years.
The point here is to underline the difficulties to get an Olympics accreditation let alone wanting to cover the event.
Another point to make is that people who live in glass houses should not throw stones at others!


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