NATIONAL Sports Council (NSC) director general Datuk Zolkples Embong believes Malaysia will surpass its all-time Asian and Commonwealth Games gold medal records in next year's editions.
Malaysia's best showing in the Commonwealth Games was achieved in the 1998 Kuala Lumpur edition, when the national contingent won 10 gold, 14 silver and 12 bronze medals.
In the Asian Games, Malaysia's best ever haul of eight gold, 17 silver and 17 bronze medals was achieved in the 2006 Doha Games.
"Our athletes have been making waves in several sports and some are also World No 1s. I am confident we will surpass our all-time Commonwealth and Asian Games records next year," said Zokples in his presentation entitled 'High Performance Sports' at the National Sports Convention in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
Zolkples said sports which produced unexpected gold medals in the Sea Games will be brought into the NSC's elite programme.
"We are looking to include boxing. I believe Malaysian boxers have a chance in the Asian and Commonwealth Games."
He said NSC's back-up programmes has also brought dividends in identifying new talent.
"A total of 40 back-up athletes qualified on merit for the recent Sea Games and they contributed one gold, five silver and seven bronze medals. It shows that the programme is working well."
Meanwhile, the Higher Education Ministry has brushed off the idea of setting-up a sports university.
Ahmad Naim Ismail, the ministry's deputy chief secretary (Sports Division), in his presentation on 'Sports in Universities', said existing universities were offering sports related degrees, Masters and PhD programmes.
"The concerned universities are also taking the initiative to improve their sports science programmes. We don't need a sports university for now," said Ahmad Naim.
He said 20 per cent of the country's national athletes were currently pursuing courses in public universities.
The Higher Learning Ministry has also identified eight universities which will conduct sports excellence programmes, starting next year.
"Each university will be entrusted with one sport," he said.
The selected universities are Universiti Malaya (netball), Universiti Putra Malaysia (rugby), Universiti Teknologi Mara (football), Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (cricket), Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (sailing), Universiti Malaysia Sabah (taekwondo), Universiti Utara Malaysia (golf) and Universiti Sains Malaysia (swimming). NST