Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Warning for non-performing sports

CHANGES are imminent as the government looks to elevate Malaysian sports to the next level.
Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said reviews are already underway and a sport’s Olympic status may not be enough to continue enjoying government priveleges.

Sports which perform will be the ones who will receive additional help, including at the grassroots, in a bid to produce world class athletes.

“The National Sports Council (NSC) has a list of 19 core sports but we are reviewing all in a bid to separate the performers from the non-performers,” said Khairy when met at the Games Village on Monday.

“The 19 core sports will remain but we are looking at changing how we help them — with the sports that are performing receiving more than those who are not.”

A sport mentioned was karate, which Khairy said deserved additional help even though it was not contested at the Olympics.

“Karate has consistently done well at the Asian Games and Sea Games levels, which are also important to us.

“They deserve to be rewarded and we will help them develop, along with other sports that, despite not enjoying Olympic status, are bringing honour to Malaysia.”

Khairy said he had already instructed NSC director-general Datuk Seri Zolkples Embong to start laying plans for these sports.

“We must help them from the grassroots level but development requires funds. I have told Zolkples that I will somehow find the funds as we must start helping sports that are doing well.”

The BA of Malaysia is one sport that will receive help as the ministry is already in the midst of drafting a plan similar to that of the National Football Development Plan (NFDP).

“Badminton needs help as we have to increase the pool of quality players and BAM has already met me. We will do something similar to the NFDP as badminton is too important to Malaysia.”

Team sports like football and hockey, despite not being able to stamp a mark at the world stage and the huge cost involved in supporting them, will also continue enjoying government support.

“The national junior hockey squad showed promise (in the 2013 Junior World Cup in New Delhi) and deserve to be given a chance to excel.

“As for football, despite arguments that it is a lost cause, I will not give up. Football is too important to be abandoned.”

While badminton, football and hockey look to be safe, certain others in the list of 19 core sports had better start delivering as the review may well see a new focus, with just a few ranked as elite and the rest having their funding cut.


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