Friday, April 29, 2016

Surgeons with healing touch


 Level Field

A number of our sportsmen and women would not have reached the pinnacle of their respective sport if not for orthopaedic surgeons who mend their injuries and put them back on the path to glory.
They would be eternally grateful to the surgeons without whose Midas touch their careers would have ended prematurely.
Sometimes, officials, the public and even the media are unkind to athletes coming back from injury and write them off at the slightest opportunity or when they take a longer time than usual to return to form.
One has to go through what these athletes endure in their comeback attempt, especially after operations, to understand their tough road to recovery and their original form.
Yes, these days operations are no longer what they used to be, thanks to the introduction of minimally invasive surgical procedures like arthroscopy. But still, for the operation to be successful, rehabilitation is of utmost importance.
I have personally had knee operations, and am in fact writing this column from a hospital bed. I had to undergo an operation on my right knee on Tuesday morning to remove a loose bone and repair the dislodgement of a piece from a knee replacement done one and a half years ago.
I had had both my knees replaced, thanks to wear and tear, football activities, not to mention the weight that built up after I stopped playing and coaching ten years ago.
Before the knee replacements, I underwent three arthroscopies – two on my right knee and one on my left – as early as 1990.
In a way, I am an ‘expert’ when it comes to these operations and rehabilitation after the surgery. I completed 40 three-hour sessions after the knee replacements. But that is nothing compared to what elite athletes undergo to get back into shape.
What I did was just so I could walk properly and probably jog and exercise comfortably without pain and stress.
And rest assured that despite having gone for four previous procedures, my fifth was no plain sailing.
The anxiety was there, which is where your orthopaedic surgeon, anaesthesiologist and the medical staff play a key role, keeping you calm before and after the surgery. Now I understand why athletes hold their medical staff in high esteem and feel indebted to them.
Take consultant orthopaedic and sports surgeon Dr Gan Eng Cheng and consultant anaesthesiologist Dr Wahida A Latiff, who have handled hundreds of athletes through the recommendation of the National Sports Institute (NSI).
Dr Gan, 52, has also been an associate sports medial doctor with NSI since 1997. A medical graduate of Universiti Malaya and a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons, he also has a master's in sports orthopaedics from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia and a master's in sports medicine from Queensland, Australia.
With such qualifications, it is little wonder that Dr Gan is much sought after by elite athletes and laymen alike.
Walk into his clinic and you will see numerous photographs of the athletes he has successfully treated for injury on the walls. 

Dr Gan and Dr Wahida are more than medical personnel to these athletes. They are also their counsellors and confidants. They quickly put their patients at ease and make the whole procedure an experience rather than an ordeal.
They explain every procedure patiently and after the operation, they are there to ensure that you are comfortable and to prepare you for the rehabilitation process.
Among the prominent athletes who were treated recently by these two good doctors and went on to compete again in their respective fields and excel are: Lee Yang (wushu – right ankle), Mohd Hafifi Masnor (weightlifting – left thigh), Nauraj Singh (high jumper – right foot), Lee Hup Wei (high jump – left thigh), Goh Liu Ying (badminton – both knees), Tracie Ang (artistic gymnastics), Amy Kwan (gymrama – right ankle), Shalin Zulkili (bowling – right foot), Sharon Koh and Hee Har Yen (bowling – both knees), Zatil Iman Zulkifli (bowling- shoulder), Mohd Irfan Fazil, Wan Zack Haikal, Rueben Kathiripillai and Amirzdwan Tajuddin  (football – knee), Nur Izzati (basketball), Adi Aliffuddin Hussin (weightlifting), Pandelela Rinong (diving – left knee),Yu Peng Kean (fencing) and Marianna Mohammed (cycling – right leg). 
So, the next time an athlete comes back from an injury, have a heart for the pain and suffering he or she has to undergo and spare a thought for the people behind the scenes who were responsible for putting them back on track.
But in the meantime athletes would do well to maintain themselves after strenuous workouts or competition by taking themselves to undergo, rejuvenation programme which include physiotherapy, massage, sauna, hot and cold treatment, proper warm downs and a medical examination. These will definitely maintain an athletes’ condition well and also prevent some injuries.
In the meantime I salute the medical team!

TONY is a sports
journalist with more than
three decades of experience
and is passionate about
local sports.
He can be reached at
Twitter: @tmariadass​

It's got to be Iloilo

By Tony Mariadass

Pictures courtesy of Iloilo Provincial Tourism Office

Mention Iloilo and the chances are response will be – what, where and who?
Indeed the name itself is odd.
Iloilo Province is located in the southern and north eastern portion of Panay Island in the Western Visayas region in Philippines.
It takes its name from Irong-Irong, the old name of the city of Iloilo, a tongue of land that sticks out like a nose on the south of Iloilo River. Irong is nose in the local dialect.
I first heard of Iloilo in 1991 when the Malay Mail football team was invited to compete the inaugural President’s Cup tournament. It was held in Iloilo and Bacolod City – another Visayas city – about one hour ferry ride from Iloilo.
Twenty-five years ago, when we went to Iloilo, we had to take a connecting flight from the domestic airport in Manila and had to endure checking-in for our flight with roosters (cock fighting was popular in Visayas) and were given boarding passes which were just a piece of paper taken from tray board behind the check-in counter.
Today, not only does Manila has three terminals which are all state-of-art, but the airport at Iloilo is also of international standard which opened on June 14, 2007 in the town of Cabatuan, replacing the old Iloilo Airport at the Mandurrio district.
The city has even beautified their murky and muddy river with a walkway, cyclists path and tress planted all along, giving the River Esplanade as the latest feature in the city.
What used to be dusty and narrow roads during the yesteryears, today there are highways and roads are wide with double or triple lanes. I still remember how our newspaper team was taken on a ride on jeepneys decorated with balloons and posters in the streets of Iloilo which was lined with people greeting us. We felt like celebrities. But that was a time when foreigner visitors or events involving foreigners were rare.
Today the old Iloilo Sports Stadium where we played with a seating gallery for about 1,000 fans, has now become major sports complex and venue in Western Visayas. The center is complete with a 10,000 capacity stadium, a rubberised track oval, a football field, an Olympic size swimming pool, two volleyball courts, two basketball courts, two open tennis courts, four badminton courts, an indoor gymnasium and dormitories.
It has indeed come a long way since then and the city is now vibrant but at the same time peaceful for a great holiday.
The city has indeed developed and an old friend from Iloilo, Pabilto Araneta, who is the city’s sports consultant with the Iloilo City Council said that it was the fastest developing into an urbanised city in the Visayas.
“It is smaller than Bacolod City, but the development here is far much faster and greater than in Bacolod. The development is in terms of amenities like roads, international airport, shopping complexes and hotels. The traffic is manageable although there are more cars on the roads these days,” said Araneta.
“We have not comprised history and old buildings in the name of development. We are a beautified city without being robbed of the authentic and rustic nature.”
The beauty of visiting Iloilo is that it is easily assessable from tip to toe of the province and from Iloilo the furthest Barangay (province) is Carles on the northern tip which is only 148 kilometres only and south is San Joaquin which is only 54 kilometres away. There is good transportation by inter-province busses or for nearer destination by jeepneys or vans.
The First District in the province distinguishes itself for the variety of its architectural wealth in the southern portion of the province comprise of seven municipalities (Oton, Tigbauan, Guimbal, Tubunhgan, Igbaras, Miagao ans San Joaquin).
The centrepiece is the Baroque-Romanesque style of St Thomas of Villanova Parish, declared a national shrine in 1973 and included in the World Heritage list under UNESCO in 1993, the only one outside Luzon.
The Fifth District is known as the Resort destination, which is in the northern part of the province. This district comprise of 11 municipalities namely Barotac, Viejo, Ajuy, Conception, Sara, San Rafael, Lemery, San Dionisio, Batad, Estancia, Balasan and Carles.

The options vary from district to district and you will be spoilt for choices and never run out of options – thanks to its exceptional range of landscapes just short distances away, lots of leisure activities and the city is a repository of ancient and historical heritage where tradition and modernity blend together in perfect harmony, all for a unique and exciting adventure.
You name it, Ilolilo has to offer – be it beautiful powder–white beaches (Biyaheng Tampisaw in the town of Concepcion and Gigantes), waterfalls, falls, caves (towns of Tubungan, Igbaras, Miagao, Janiuay, Calinog and San Enrique), camping sites and trekking (Sitio Bucari in Leon, Tubungan, Miagao, Alimodian, Janiuay, Lambunao and Calinog), caves (city of Pasai and towns of Igbaras, Miagao, Leon, Janiuay and Gihantes island in Carles), island-hopping, fishing, scuba diving, trekking and old churches.
Iloilo is also a haven for food and festivals.

Seafood is a must when in Iloilo and their speciality Bangus (milk fish found in the Visayas only) cooked in no less than 15 ways and Talaba (oysters) is not to be missed. There are seafood restaurants just about everywhere and it is very affordable. Just to give an idea it only cost me RM90 for a six dishes (including two dishes of oysters – fresh and butter baked) with drinks for three persons. To top it all, we could not finish the food and packed the balance to give to the hotel staff.
Among the local delicacies include lapz batchoy (famous Ilonggo dish of noodle with pork parts) ancit molo (noodle dish), biscocho (baked bread with butter and sugar), pinasugbo (a naïve confection, barquillos (thin rolled crisp wafer) and baye -baye (a mixture of scraped young coconut flesh, sugar and pinipig (pounded rice grains),
Festivals are aplenty throughout the islands in Philippines and Iloilo is no different. The high sense of spirituality and inter-cultural values of the Ilonggos (people from Iloilo are known as this) paves the way for celebrations of festivals and fiestas as a form of thanksgiving for almost everything the divine providence has lavishly endowed them.
Aside from district fiestas which usually celebrate a patron saint’s day, there are festivals which are celebrated by the whole city and attracts tourists in numbers.
Among the city’s famous festivities are Dinagyang is dubbed as the “Festival of Excellent Folk choreography”. It is a colourful display of street dancing and story-telling. 

Then there is Paraw and Samba Regatta Festival where the sunny but cool and windy February climate paves the way for the annual celebration along Iloilo Strait. Colorful paraws (local sailboats) vie for trophies and cash prices for the different categories of the contest.
The contest gives tribute and honor to this water vehicle as an indispensible partner of local fishermen and as a common means of transportation between Iloilo and Guimaras and the other nearby coastal towns.
Side events also include, Porma Balas a sand sculpting competition, search for Ms. Paraw Regatta; beach-volleyball, beach-footbal, and the Samba Regatta - a music and dancing competition which has resemblance of the Mardi Gras in Rio de Janeiro.
Candelaria de Jaro is a feast celebration of its patroness, La Nuestra Señora de Candelaria or Our Lady of Candles. Although a religious holiday, the whole city and the country literally goes to Jaro to celebrate with the Jarenos this fabulous and famous celebration. Originally, the celebration is a thanksgiving of the Jarenos for the good harvest and fortune that the patroness has showered on them for the past year, but it has drawn local and foreign visitors alike because of its lavish luncheons and dinners, opulent religious procession, the grand ball and coronation of the Jaro Charity Queen.
Iloilo City Charter Day is another celebration which started only in 2010. It is a 40-day celebration beginning on July 16 and climaxing on August 25. It aims to create public awareness of the history and development of Iloilo as a City; arouse community sense of pride of place; and showcase the celebration as link to culture and heritage.
So if one is looking for a perfect vacation destination with a variety of choices, affordable and anytime of the year, it’s got to be Iloilo – their tagline in promoting Iloilo.
Getting to Iloilo:

Accessible from Manila by air (50 minutes flight) by Philippines or Cebu Air. It is also accessible by sea by ferry but is an overnight trip.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Haven for buskers

By Tony Mariadass

The image of buskers in Malaysia is surely changing for the better, thanks to the efforts of Malaysian Buskers Club (MYBC) who have now embarking on a mission to have a ‘Buskers Village’ in the new future.
It was no easy path for MYBC to make themselves relevant and it was president Wady Hamdan, his deputy and veteran busker Asrul Hanif and his committee’s tireless effort which has finally seen them being recognised as a body for buskers.
Started three years ago, it was a rough road to recognition and facing rejection from all quarters, be it government agencies, malls or even people in general, was a norm.
But the 41 year-old statistician by profession and a graduate from Australia, kept knocking on doors and eventually made inroads when he had an opportunity to meet the prime minister, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, after writing a letter to him about his plight and mission to make buskers in Malaysian relevant.
“That meeting two years ago, somewhat changed the path for MYBC, but it was still not smooth sailing until Avenue K management under Sue Wang gave us the first platform to perform at a mall,” said Wady a father of twelve children.
Wang said that Avenue K’s tagline of ‘Make friends and create trends’, they wanted to engage with the public and have a place where they can chill out and enjoy raw entertainment but talented.
“We created a space for the buskers at the KLCC MRT station which was part of Avenue K and was one of the busiest stations in the city. We wanted to make the station lively and wanted public to have experience and enjoy their train trips,” said Wang.
“It also served as a place for family gathering and tourists’ attraction.
“We are happy that we pioneered the idea and that MYBC have found many other places who are supporting them now.”
 Wady said that the opportunity afforded to them by Avenue K opened many other doors opened – from malls, airport, television stations, corporate organisations and for functions.
“Today we have a database of 11,000 buskers from throughout the country and almost every state has a club who coordinate with us.
“Our buskers are not just musicians. Buskers are street performers who entertain the crowd as musicians, stand-up comics, clowns, magicians and other talent.”
 However, Wady said that for performers at Malls and high-end places, they have a group of buskers who are of a certain standard.
“As much as we encourage all buskers to join MYBC, but there different avenues for them to perform.
“While the betters ones – about 50 –who are called ‘ resident buskers’, perform at malls and places which requires a certain standard, we have jamborees, street and art festivals and other functions where the rest get to show case all sorts of talent.”
Wardy said MYBC is also serious about their image and do not want buskers to be viewed as drug addicts, unemployed youth who are out to make trouble or shabbily dressed, beggars or the homeless.
“We have worked hard to change our image and even had our members undergo urine test to certify that they are not involved in drugs.”
Wady said they have been working closely with
Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Ministry, the Tourism and Culture Ministry, Kraftangan Malay, State government of Kedah, Pahang and Federal Territory Ministry and KL City Hall to name a few.
Wady said they do not take any money from the collections the buskers make and said that usually for a day’s performance which can be anything between two to four hours, they can take home between RM400 to RM500.
Rosters are drawn up MYBC for the various venues and everyone gets an opportunity.
“But there is still plenty we can do for the buskers and achieve. Among them include to have a ‘buskers village’ and also to get a national licence for buskers where they can perform anywhere in the country.
“Presently licences given by a particular state is not recognised by others. Then we also get harassment from the police and other enforcement agencies.
“We need to streamline our presence nationwide.”
As for the dream ‘buskers village’ Wady said that being a Kedahan, he is hoping to set it up in the northern state.
“This village will be emblem of the buskers industry, a tourist attraction, an area where buskers have their homes and where they can also have other working opportunities all in the compound of the village.
“It is a long term plan and support from all quarters is going to be vital. 
"But having gone through the rough path to have come where we have, we are all prepared to continue to struggle to make our dream become a reality.”
The negative perception of buskers is certainly changing as they become recognised as entertainers rather than undesirable elements and a nuisance.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Let football brains manage the teams


With Malaysian football at its lowest ebb, it is the best time to make a major change of who should be involved in the management of teams.
While an open debate between the Regent of Johor, Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim ­– who is also the owner of Johor Darul Ta’zim ­– and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin is the hot topic currently, the big picture must be viewed.
Debates may see many ugly matters surface as each party will want to emerge the winner, but what happens at the end of the debate will be what matters.
If the debate is just for the sake of arguing, it is not going to serve any purpose. To implement the good things that come out of the debate will be a challenge.
Even if Tunku Ismail becomes the new FAM head, as suggested, not much will get done because it is the state FAs that actually chart the direction of football in the country.
As long as the mindset of the state FAs remains the same, the best of the plans proposed by the national body is going to be derailed, as is the case now.
It is for this reason that there needs to be a revamp at the state and club levels, both management and coaches.
It is not rocket science that football should be run by football brains.
Ajax Amsterdam’s assistant team manager Dennis Bergkamp told the Daily Mail this week that more clubs should follow the Dutch club’s model of promoting players to executive roles.
“The best directors are the ones who had worked on the factory floor. The ones who make the decisions should be the people who know what’s really happening and how it impacts down below,” he said.
Dutch great Johan Cruyff, who died last month aged 68, was instrumental in putting that sort of system in place at the Amsterdam club he played for with such distinction.
Former Ajax defender Frank de Boer is the current manager and along with Bergkamp is assisted by another retired centreback, Jamp Stm, while ex-winger Marcs Overmars is director of football.
Former goalkeeper Edwin van Sar works on the commercial side as marketing director.
While we already have seen the likes of Zainal Abidin Hassan, Datuk Jamal Nasir and currently James Wong and Hassan Sani, to name but a few, involved in managerial duties, the question to ask is, was total say in managing the team accorded to them? Or are they just be ‘puppet managers’ with the strings being pulled by top officials who have no clue about the game?
And then, the question is whether we have quality former players to manage the teams?
Maybe apart from coaching courses, former players should take recognised administrative and managerial courses as well.
It will definitely be good to start somewhere and get more ex-internationals and state players with long service involved in the management of the state or club teams at administrative level.
Many state FAs are still managed by people who have not even played football. Passion for the game alone is not enough. They have to be professionals with knowledge of the game.
Attending a once-a-year, one-day administrative course does not make one an expert in the management of football.
Football is a business now and it needs to be run like a corporation with all the right people with the right qualifications at the various posts of the football organisation.
The game has evolved at a tremendous speed, both on the field and in its management, and we have to keep up.
Whatever decision is taken to elevate Malaysian football should be holistic. Everyone must get it that nothing is going to improve in Malaysian football overnight because the problems have grown roots. Our only hope is a complete revamp with a proper long-term programme with grassroots emphasis. And that too with total dedication.
Otherwise, we could have a hundred debates and find no answers to our football woes.

TONY is a sports
journalist with more than
three decades of experience
and is passionate about
local sports.
He can be reached at

Twitter: @tmariadass​

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Paul completes amazing race

By Tony Mariadass

It was a sombre yet touching farewell for fitting for Datuk Seri Paul Mony Samuel who was laid to rest at the Subang Lutheran Garden yesterday afternoon.
Paul passed away on Saturday night leaving behind his wife Datin Seri Kristine Lim Guat Looi and son Andrew.
He had fought an excellent fight and finished his race.
The large turnout at his residence for the wake from Sunday night to the service at  yesterday morning before the convoy of cars followed the cortege to the cemetery spoke volumes of how he touched people's lives with his work and kindness.
The final prayer service at his home ended with short march behind a three piece band playing Amazing Grace as the cortege moved to the final journey to the cemetery.
His former colleagues at the FA of Malaysia, Asean Football Federation and Asian Football Confederation whom he had served as general secretary, his childhood friends from where he grew up in Kuala Ketil, former national players, coaches and friends filled his home to pay their last respects.
There were even foreign friends from Switzerland and Thailand as Urs Zanitti, the former Fifa Goal programme director who flew in from Switzerland
Among the local who’s who in the football circle who flew in from Berne.
turned up included Datuk Peter Velappan, Datuk Dell Akbar, Datuk M. Chandran, Datuk Soh Chin Aun, Datuk K. Sabaratnam, Osman Bakar, V. Kalimutu, Zainal Abidin Hassan, S. Subramaniam, M.J. Vincent, S. Balanchandran and many others.
Sports journalists who had worked with Paul and other officials from other sports including Olympic Council of Malaysia assistant general secretary, Datuk Sieh Kok Chi was present
It was indeed a fitting tribute for man who made a difference to football both locally and internationally.
Dozens of wreaths, large and small, turned his house into a garden of flowers.
Goodbye Paul. May you rest in peace.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Farewell visionary, inspiration


By Tony Mariadass

Small town boy Datuk Seri Paul Mony Samuel shone like a beacon with a passion for football all his life, excelling as an administrator locally and internationally.
From Kuala Ketil, a small located between Sungai Petani and Kulim in Kedah, he stood out for going out of his way to help anyone - in football or otherwise.
His fame at the highest level of football – Fifa – did not change the humble nature willingness to help those sharing his passion for the game.
Being a teacher from 1967-1979, gave him the perfect foundation in his world of football to impart his knowledge in the game and make an impact.
Paul may have given impression of a strict person who was unapproachable, but he was a gentle giant and with heart of gold. He never turned anybody away.
Yes, he always wore a stern look and hardly smile but that was because he was meticulous person and a stickler for discipline.
He was a no nonsense man. He was a workaholic that many would think his office was his home.
Those who crossed Paul’s path will attest they had benefited from his knowledge, generosity, willingness to guide.
The Malay Mail FC (MMFC) were among the many who have benefited from Paul’s compassionate heart.
The newspaper  team played in the Kuala Lumpur league in the late 80s and progressed to become the first club from the Klang Valley to qualify for the M-League Premier II in 2000.
It was a long road for MMFC but what put them on the path to seek excellence was Paul’s gesture to offer to play in the inaugural Philippine Cup in Iloilo and Bacolod City in 1991.
The invitation was sent to FA of Malaysia, but Paul who kept tabs of development of almost all teams in the country – be it is small village team or state team – must have seen something in the newspaper team.
We took the offer and went to Philippines with some assistance from Kuala Lumpur FA who loaned a few of their junior players to strengthen our team.
The rest was history. MMFC reached the final defeating the Cambodian national team in the semifinals and played the Chinese Taipeh team in the final, only to lose by a solitary goal. We went on to play in two other Philippines Cup and till today have a long standing relationship with the football cities of Iloilo and Baclold with veteran teams now making regular visits.
That exposure set the path for MMFC not only play in the Premier League, but saw almost 200 players pass through the team with many going onto to play for states and other clubs, national junior and national team.
MMFC folded in 2004 for because of financial difficulties.
It was memorable journey with rich experience and embracing the game in the best possible way. 
Thank you Datuk Seri Paul for giving us experience which all those who embraced will cherish and treasure for the rest of their lives.
MMFC is probably on e of the thousands in the Malaysian football fraternity who benefitted by Paul’s touch.
While he helped small clubs and village teams, the same man reached the pinnacle of world football in his journey from a teacher to football coach to general secretary of FA of Malaysia, Asean Football Federation and Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and then making his mark at Fifa. 
His involvement in four World Cups, must surely be an icing to his illustrious football career. 
His leadership, administrative and logistical skills saw him successfully manage the World Cup in the USA (1994), France (1998), Korea/Japan (2002) and Germany (2006).
Fifa valued his knowledge and services and was recognised as a very reliable instructor, serving on its panel of instructors from 1991 to 2007.
He conducted FUTURO I and II courses throughout the world and wrote the first administration book for FIFA in 1988.
At 71, it was too early for him to pass on.
But he leaves behind a legacy which is unmatched.
Paul’s wife, Datin Seri Kristine and Andrew his son, 24, can stand proud of his achievements, although the loss will be a difficult to accept.
Rest in peace dear Paul. You will always walk tall.
The funeral service is today at his home - No 4, SS 3/94, 47300 Petaling Jaya and then proceed for burial at Subang Lutheran Garden


Datuk Windsor John Paul (Asian Football Confederation general secretary)
Great teacher, administrator and good human being. Integrity, hard work and 100% commitment to the given responsibility. Task master with a heart of gold. Attention to details and loved finding solutions and not talk about problems. He gave his life for football with no time for family or himself.

Datuk Peter Velappan (former Asian Football Confederation general secretary)
It is indeed a sad moment for a distinguished football figure like Datuk Seri Paul Mony to pass away after a long illness. I brought him from Kedah to work in Kuala Lumpur and to be trained as a football coach and administrator. During his term as general secretary of the Football Association of Malaysia, he developed to be an able administrator and a very good planner.
He was then brought to the Asian Football Confederation to succeed me on my retirement. Unfortunately Paul did not last long because of illness. Paul also helped FIFA in the organization of the World Cups, FIFA tournaments, and coaching and administration courses. He was well respected by the football world and he will certainly be missed. May God bless him in his next world.
Chow Kwai Lam (former national and Barcelona Olympics squad coach)
It was a sheer delight and joy to work under Datuk Seri Paul Mony’s administration. He was a true professional and his work ethics made saw everything move so smoothly. He was a great administrator which we will probably never see another in his calibre.

S. Subramaniam (former Kuala Lumpur coach)
A very good man who was very knowledgeable of the game. He was an excellent administrator because he understood the game very well. He was a qualified coach having graduated from the 3rd Asian Football Coaching Course. His passion for the game and the importance he placed on grassroots development saw many of his programmes stand out not only in Malaysia but Asia. I owe a great deal to him because he guided me all the way.

Datuk Santokh Singh (former national player)
He was a great secretary general and football was his love of his life.

Datuk Fauzi Omar (former sportswriter and Malay Mail Editor)
The thing that struck me most about Dato Seri Paul Mony was his passion for the sport. He devoted his entire life to it. If you knew Paul like some of us did, then you'd know that there was nothing else in his life except football. And what a good job he did as a football administrator. And Malaysian football benefited so much from him. RIP my dear friend..."

Tony Francis (former NST, Malay Mail Sport Editor and Malay Mail Editor)
As far as sports administrators go, Paul Mony was among the best. He was a gentleman and a scholar. It was an honour to have known him.

Lazarus Rokk (former NST Sport Editor)
To me, Paul was the ultimate football administrator, a man who lived his life for football, and did it with unparalleled devotion, conviction, and even perfection.
"But sadly, the very sport that gave him great pleasure, honour, and accolades, was sadly the same sport that eventually took his life. The stress and the politics that came in waves left him physically and mentally incapacitated, in his final years preceding his sad passing.
"There was another side of Paul that not many would have known. He had a giving heart. He had a heart for the downtrodden, and never once turned away anyone who sought his help.
"The football world will miss a great administrator, and his family and friends will miss a great man. One who lived true to his ideals and principles."

George Das (former NST Sport journalist)
 Paul was one of the finest sports administrators in the world .He went the extra mile in whatever he did and was a stickler for efficiency.
Above all he was a very humble human being and I'm glad to have known and worked with him. Malaysia will never produce another like him.
He was an icon in the world of football.

He authored a book on football administration which FIFA used in various countries throughout the world.
Paul believed that for any country's football to prosper and improve, there should be a very strong grassroots development programme.
Paul was one of the finest sports administrators in the world. He went the extra mile in whatever he did and was a stickler for efficiency.
Above all he was a very humble human being and I'm glad to have known and worked with him.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Josephine on mission for Perak athletics

By Tony Mariadass

Former middle distance queen Josephine Mary Singarayar after having groomed her two children to become athletes, she is now embarking on talent identification to create a bigger pool of athletes from her home state, Perak.
The 47-year old Josephine who is married to former national middle distance runner Samson Vallabuoy, both who hogged the limelight in the 80s, has coached her two daughters Jocelyn 18 and Sheeren 16 to become state and national athletes respectively.
Josephine, was selected and nominated by Malaysian Athletic Federation and the Olympic Committee of Malaysia to undergo a two months coaching course at the Delaware University in collaboration of the US National Olympic Committee under the International Coaches Enhancement Certificate Programme last year.
She attended the course where 35 participants from different countries around the world attended, where she had opportunity to mingle and share opinions, gain new ideas and techniques besides being guided and trained by top international trainers as well as university lecturers with latest knowledge on athletics development.
The intended outcome is for ICECP participants to return to their countries and to serve as coaches within their respective sports as well as become foundation builders for future coaches and athletes while spreading the Olympic Spirit.
ICECP comprises the following four modules which includes the two weeks at the University of Delaware. The second which enables the coach to develop their coaching skills during an apprenticeship in their respective sport. The third module will be held at the USOC’s Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs while the final module will take place at the International Olympic Committee headquarters in Lausanne
“In order to complete this course every participant is required to conduct a project in their respective countries and have to submit and present in person to the panel.  The proposal that I made is to identify the challenges being faced in grass root development and to make suggestions and proposals to overcome through a short term and long term program for primary schools in Perak in particular and Malaysia generally,” said Josephine who is currently in the panel of national coaches and was also the chaperon for the Singapore Sea Games athletics contingent last year.
“In order to initiate this proposal I had also conducted a study through a pilot project with two secondary school children aged 13 in Perak and conducted a talent identification activity focused on athletics.  In the process I had also attempted to educate and train a pool of volunteer Physical Education teachers on the techniques of carrying out talent identification on their students while conducting PE lessons in schools,” added Josephine who has been the Perak State coach since 2011 and was the national coach for the 15th IAAF World Junior championship in Oregon, USA in 2014.
“On the data and information collected, I have compiled a working paper which outlines the underlying problems on TID in this country and the necessary affirmative action that needs to be addressed by the respective authorities so as to formulate a standard policy change in order to revamp the current physical education program in schools. 
“It is my personal opinion, if these suggestions are given attention, there is a high possibility that young and talented athletes could mushroom, who in turn will be possible back up material for the nation.
“It is also my mission to increase the pool of young talented youths/athletes and thus adopt a long term training program from grassroots to specific for these athletes where we can see some impressive results along the way as they progress.  In addition to this, I am also trying to establish links between sports and local athletic clubs.”
Josephine, has represented the nation in six Sea Games (1983 – 1993), three Asian Track and Field (ATF) championships (1987-1991) and two Asian Games 1986-1990) still holds the 800m national record set at the Seoul Asian Games in 1986 where she won the bronze medal in a time of 2:07.44. She has also competed in the world championship in 1984 in Rome, Commonwealth Games in Auckland in 1990 and six Sea Games (1983-1993).
Josephine said being an active athlete for almost 15 years had given her wide knowledge and experience to understand on the development in athletics.
“I started my athletic carrier when I was 13 years old and gained interest in sports through my dedicated PE teachers who motivated and supported me all the way. But alarmingly these days the scenario has completely reversed, as we hardly see children or youths very keen, thrilled or excited to take part in sports. This in a way has resulted into problems like obesity, drug menace, gang fights and other bad elements.
“The passion and love for sports had kept me going even after retirement.
“Having glued the term ‘athletic is the mother of all sports’ in my mind, I kept my passion ongoing and thus initiated this talent identification programme to support and identify young and talented athletes in Perak.
“Being born as a Perakian, I felt now was the time for me to contribute towards  developing athletics in Perak, as Perak used to be a power house in athletics during the 70s and 80s, when notable ‘giants’ were produced. It is my strong belief essentially to produce a world class athlete, it has to erupt from ‘grassroots’ with a systematic and well planned long term footing.”