He who has learned how to steal, must learn how to hang.

Malaysian sports is today in a poor state of organization. Its super-structure is top heavy, some of its foundations are built on shifting sands. The entire edifice has been corroded with jealousies and prejudices, provincialism and communalism, anomalies and stupidities.

A rash of medals at the New Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games may have given the impression that we have become a sports power. Not so soon. The champagne must stay on ice.

The Sports Minister, and his able deputies, have contributed nothing towards sports in the time they have been in office, save for turning up to take pictures and pose with athletes that have won medals, and that too limited to the likes of top world class performers in the likes of Lee Chong Wei.

Mind you that read this, the Minister has done wonders in promoting tennis in the country, with close to RM40 million being spent on three events, but where was he when the Malaysian Hockey Federation had to virtually sell their rights of the Project 2013 team to Air Asia as they could ill afford the flight tickets to participate in tournaments in India this month. What’s a mere RM20, 000 opposed to the RM40 million?

And while we are at this subject Mr. Minister, how come none of the main stream media nor some vocal bloggers, who virtually started a war with KBS and its then minister about the football extravagant event that cost RM17 million gone silent on you spending RM40 million on a sport that has never given us gold even at SEA Games level?

And what about the Sports Industry Secretariat that occupies the first floor of Casa 1 holds meetings and eats food from the NSC cafeteria daily, the expenditure, which comes from the beleaguered NSC that has been accused of not paying its debtors, but in reality, has to pay for feeding a committee that, is run to your whims and fancies?

So the crux of the matter is that players are merely pawns in the skirmishes for power, the stepping- stones by which social climbers and careerists find their way into presidential and committee chairs.

The three stakeholders in defining the success of an athlete are, the athlete himself, the administrators and the public at large.

In reality the greatest thrust for excellence has to come from the athlete, but for so many years, the athletes have shown themselves to be satisfied with the perks of participation, rather than the rewards of performance.

For the last few decades, our participation in multi sports events has been not targeted for wins, but to improve on their personal best. What more with the Malaysian Hockey Federation treating the games as ax exposure trip, declaring openly their intentions. So why did the Olympic Council of Malaysia not declare the hockey team as a Category B participant?

It will be easy to blame the athletes. But they are part of a system that rewards mediocrity, a system that is geared towards producing gracious losers, not aggressive winners.

No football, hockey, badminton or squash association can take credit for the successes of athletes like the Bakar brothers Namat and Isa, Kavandan brothers Keevan and Logan, Lee Chong Wei, the Sidek brothers, Misbun, Razif,Jailani, Rashid or Nicol Ann David. These athletes emerged from the strong, unbiased, focused organizations that have not been given enough credit, their families.

Most of these champions have had problems with their respective sports associations, including the Ministry of Youth & Sports, which are being run or were run by politicians. And not forgetting time observers who want to take credit for every success, but are experts in pointing fingers at others when things go wrong.

When such champions continue to be harassed by officialdom, which functions in a heavy-handed bureaucratic manner in the likes of some zealous officials within the National Sports Council, what chance do those in the lower rungs of the ladder have.

Part Two will follow on the War Series…