Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Sports Academy and World Cup dream

Sports Academy and World Cup dream

Provide more sports facilities locally

I refer to shocking revelation in your report “Sports centre plan stalled”(theSun,February14).

Malaysia playing in football's World Cup Finals is a dream of every citizen.The government has come up with numerous ambitious plans,costing millions of ringgit to make that dream a reality.It also wants to put our sportsman and sportswomen in par with others at international levels.

Will we ever achive that ambition of ours? If we continue with the present policies in sports, we will never realize this dream. The fiasco of the sports academy in Brickendonbury is a just simple illustration of our doomed mission even before it takes off the ground.

The cost of renovating the centre has been brought down tremendously from RM490 million to RM69 million.How this is possible is mind-boggling but RM69 million is still a large amount of money. Many of our schools, even the bestari ones, lack proper playing fields, badminton courts and facilities for other popular sports. The money could be better used to prop up these facilities in all schools especially those in rural areas.

We excelled in many sports before like badminton, hockey, athletics and football. Today we are lagging far behind in all every sport except badminton, even in that we are rapidly being overtaken by countries which were alien to the game not long ago. In squash and bowling we can count the number of players who have risen up to international excellence.

While we appreciate the government’s efforts to achieve excellence in sports, setting up a costly training centre in a foreign land is definitely not the right way. I can foresee it is doomed for failure, like many such projects locally and a mere waste of taxpayers’ money.

Who will be selected to undergo training at this centre in London? Will the selection be based merely on merit or some other criteria? Who will pay for expenses in traveling, food and lodging of these elite sportsmen and women?

It would be more beneficial and cost effective to build numerous football fields, badminton courts and even sports complexes in smaller towns and kampongs all over the country, which badly lack these facilities. Many existing open fields which used to be favorite places of recreation for our youngsters have been eliminated in the name of development.

Majority of sports heroes usually come from the masses and not from the rich and wealthy segment of the population. Unless we tap the great potentials that exist in the masses we will not succeed in selecting the best to represent the nation.

Football and hockey tournaments and athletic meets at school and district levels that used to be very popular in the sixties and seventies were effective ways to select talented young players for the state and national teams. These competitions are unheard of in most small towns these days. In fact many of us were selected via these competitions for further training at state level. Similar tournaments were also organized for athletics, basketball, volleyball and others.

We do not need sophisticated and high-tech sports complexes. The single most important means of developing a sport and spot talented players is to take the game to the masses all over the country. Facilities must be made available to them freely or at costs affordable to them. Selection of the players must be solely on merit not on favoritism.

We have the money and the talent, all we need is sufficient dedicated and loyal leaders who are genuinely interested to bring honor and glory, not for themselves but, for the nation. Until we find these leaders, which appears to be a formidable task, we have to be contended being mere spectators, at the most organizers, of international sports meets including the FIFA World Cup.

Dr.Chris Anthony

Bravo DrChris....I fully agree with you, as I, myself is a
sportswoman would like to help indians in this field but I notice
not many want to help nor give their support,I find it difficult to
move forward without any support from our indian friends.Hope others
out there would come forward to share and bring up the indian
community in sports.I am open to suggestions and my email


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