Malaysia needs a sports reset

Malaysia needs a sports reset

THE recent SEA Games in Seam Reap, Cambodia, failed to earn us the achievements and medals that we had hoped for.

Instead, our team received numerous brickbats from sports commentators and sports fraternity stalwarts.

Our targets were missed, expectations crushed and athletes’ performances appalling.

Still, we may not have to hold up the white flag and announce our doom just yet, but we must look into the factors below immediately to ensure we rise again in due time.

Sports infrastructure

Sports infrastructure is important. We need to invest, develop and build state-of-the-art sports complexes and stadiums, with top-notch equipment and facilities, to provide athletes with the best possible training environments.

We need to build such complexes in every state and provide amenities and facilities to all schools nationwide.

This will encourage educational institutions to send in their aspiring sportsmen and sportswomen to practise, train and be ready to represent the nation in any sports event, be it at the national or international level.

This could be done even at the “taman” level or housing estate level.

Just see what one cricket enthusiast Jerome Fernandez has done in a taman in Puchong.

Talent identification and development

Identifying sports talent among our youth is of great importance.

Implementing effective talent identification programmes at the grassroots level is crucial.

The Youth and Sports Ministry (YSM) and Education Ministry (MOE) must work hand in hand to identify young athletes with potential and provide them with specialised training as well as good education opportunities.

One sports coach commented that approximately 80% of school athletes who excel at school and district levels “disappear” from the sports arena when they fail to get any placements in colleges or universities.

This simply shows an apparent weakness in our system and our lack of appreciation and value towards these young individuals.

Athletes who perform well in school and display great potential should be offered placements in institutes of higher learning, with the condition that they must continue to delve into the sports arena and also maintain a certain grade in their studies.

Sports scholarships, bursaries or subsidies can be offered to those in need and are deserving of such aid.

The Malaysia School Sports Council must step forward and undertake this responsibility, work hand in hand with the YSM and MOE, grasp these potential super sports achievers and strive for excellence together.

Besides hunting for the players/athletes, please look out for retired sports teachers, and former national and state players, who will be a big boon to our talent identification and retention programme.

Sports science and technology

Embracing sports science and artificial intelligence technology can give Malaysia a competitive edge.

Implementing advanced training methods, proper data analysis, up-to-date sports medicine and performance-enhancing technologies can optimise training and improve athlete performance.

Though sports science is being taught in our universities, its great potential and prospects have yet to be instilled within those learning it and even those teaching the subject.

More research and studies must be carried out and utilised in the field and the sports arena to bring greater results for our nation.

Officials who are exposed to these sports sciences must be brought to the front to assist and strategise our players.

It is senseless to boast that sports science is being offered in universities, yet our nation is unable to boast of great sports achievements after that.

Let us put sports science to greater use.


Invest in quality coaching and sports science resources for athlete development.

Provide our retired athletes with proper training and grooming resources and knowledge in order to be able to train the next generation of sports heroes.

Hire experienced coaches and sports support individuals who can provide expert guidance and training techniques to our athletes.

Remove the political and racial lenses, and empower the coaches to do their best with fixed key performance indicators.

Coaching and nurturing athletes must come from the heart.

The sports jersey or jacket must be worn with pride or not as a fashion display.

Accompanying our sports contingent to any sports event is to provide them with support and should not be considered an all-expense-paid vacation.

If one grandfather in Puchong, can produce several cricketers by just starting with his grandson and now having 18 young people under his training development, imagine what the others can do.

I am sure there are many retired players, coaches, headmasters and sports teachers, who can be motivated to do what Jerome has done.

Sports education in schools

Integrating sports education into the school curriculum can foster a sports culture from an early age.

Physical Education (PE) programmes in school should be well-structured, emphasising co-skill development, fitness and overall athletic ability.

PE teachers play a great role in encouraging all students to give their best when it comes to sports or games, be it in running (long or short distances), jumping (high or long jump), individual games (badminton, tennis, swimming), pair or team games (football, basketball, etc.).

From early-age PE classes, teachers must identify the potential sports achievers, pick them out and train them to aim high for success in the sports arena.

PE teachers should have training and knowledge in sports and the urge and heart of sports.

Students cannot view PE lessons as “lazy play time”, likewise PE teachers cannot consider PE time slots as “free time to play ball”.

Many schools face a dilemma of a lack of PE teachers, thus some schools just slot in a teacher for that subject regardless of the lack of knowledge and interest of the educationist in that subject.

This causes a lack of motivation among students, oversight of potential athletes and failure to launch a new generation of sports achievers for our nation.

The MOE has to eradicate this issue immediately.

Sports academies and training centres

Establishing sports academies and training centres dedicated to specific sports disciplines can help athletes receive specialised training and access to world-class facilities.

These centres can provide focused coaching, regular competitions and exposure to international standards.

We must create sports opportunities for any kind of sport in order to allow exposure to the sports world and enable our athletes to reach their fullest potential and achieve the greatest of success in this arena.

Currently, we have only two sports schools and several privately established academies for certain sports i.e, badminton, football and athletics.

Build more sports schools with good and proper trainers, good facilities and good offers to attract and care for the students from all over the country.

The YSM and MOE can collaborate with private training academies to produce top-notch players.

International exposure and competitions

Encouraging athletes to participate in international competitions, tournaments and training camps is essential.

Exposure to different playing styles, higher levels of competition and international athletes can enhance skills and broaden perspectives.

Datuk Lee Chong Wei, Datuk Nicol David, Datuk Pandelela Rinong, Julian Yee Zhi-Jie, Datuk Azizulhasni Awang, Welson Sim, Datuk Shalin Zulkifli, Farah Ann Abdul Hadi, Abdul Latif Romly and Aaliyah Yoong Hanifah are just a few of our best as they all did very well with much exposure in international competitions.

Such exposure and experience will bring greater results, as these fine individuals have proven to be true.

Government support and funding

It is obvious that we need to spend in order to provide and of course to achieve.

The government should provide adequate financial support and funding for sports development programmes.

Allocating resources to sports federations, national teams, and athlete scholarships or bursaries can assist in maintaining and improving talent and ensure that athletes have the necessary resources to excel.

The funding may not only come from the government but the private sector, too.

The committee in charge of the allocation of such a big amount must be honest and trustworthy.

They are responsible to ensure that the expenses made on purchasing sports equipment, and technology, hiring trainers and coaches, travel and accommodation expenses for sports meets, and any other developing the sports sector are done appropriately and correctly.

Politics must be removed from this equation to ensure that there is no one sport at a loss.

Remove politicians from all sports bodies

We are a society that is naturally good at sports.

The entry of politicians into the sports sector, besides getting sponsorships, has not helped any games.

The constitution of every sports association must be amended to disallow any politicians from holding any office in the sports sector or residing in the committee responsible for the funds allocated for sports.

Former sportsmen must be given priority in all sports associations related to their involvement in developing our sports sector.

Athletes from all schools around the nation must be provided fair and equal opportunities to boost their talent and ability in the sports arena.

Ethnicity and religion must not be a part of this race.

Malaysia needs a sports reset. This has to be holistic and scientific. The agrarian era is over.

We need the AI era and efforts to totally reset our sports sector.

The sports arena can bring immense benefits to our nation.

It is through young men and women that we can produce more Jegathesans and Mokhtar Daharis and Lee Chong Weis.

Today we must plan to chart a new reset for our sports sector and bring back the glory, fame and medals that Malaysia once knew and rejoiced in.

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