Nothing “ Baru” in Malaysian Sports

While the entire nation seems to be chanting the Malaysia Baru slogan, sadly nothing has changed as far as sports is concerned.

Two incidents this week confirmed the fact that sports is still in the backwaters as the rest of the nation tries to adapt to changes for the better.

A point to note was the statement made by YB Syed Sadiq the recently appointed Sports Minister at his first press conference at the Ministry

He said something to the effect that he would seek advice from the experienced “ technocrats” at the Ministry and it’s agencies in matters regarding sports as he had lots of “ experts” to count on.

However yesterday at the OCM Board meeting, one of his technocrats poured cold water on any athlete representing the nation in team sports from being honoured.

Here is the gist of the story.

The OCM Board met to decided in who would be the flag bearer for the Malaysian Contingent at the Jakarta/Palembang Asian Games.

Rightfully the OCM Secretariat put up a few names for deliberation.

Three members of the Board spike up in favour of S. Kumar, the National hockey goalkeeper who has served the nation for 18 years, helped the country achieve honours in the sport, won some 13 Brar goalkeeper awards, was even picked as Asia’s Best Goalkeeper, even won the award when he virtually took Malaysia through to the World Cup qualifiers in London last year where he was voted the best goalkeeper.

He had gone through personal tragedies, losing his father while keeping goal at the 2010 Commonwealth Games at New Delhi and Who can forget the sudden loss of his Son when Kumar was padding up to help Malaysia qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympics through a qualifier in Antwerp.

But other then the three Board members – namely Dato Dr. SS Cheema, Dato Nazifuddin and Dato Mumtaz, none others valued this athlete sacrifices, not even the OCM President that often said that “ I am the Son of a school teacher” but probably failed to realise that Kumar is the din of a school cleaner from Tampin as well.

And lo be-hold, the NSC representative at the Board, one Jeffry Ngadirin poured cold water on Kumar”s nomination by stating that it he was from a team sports and hence not proper to be considered.

So the moral of the story is that no matter how good you are, if you represent the nation in a team sport, go climb the pole , as u will not get to carry it,

Jeffry forgets that he himself was appointed Deputy Chef De Mission for two consecutive multi sports events, the 2017 Sea Games and the 2018 Commonwealth Games and rightfully did not deserve the appointment.

So back to the Board members who rightfully should have decided on the matter, but true to their limited ability or knowledge in sports except for immense lobbying powers and the veto powers of NSC just nodded their heads and it was considered unanimous.

Two things balls me here – for one the lack of discussion and democratic way of voting and more so the fact that these Board members could put individual sport above team sport,

Lest they forget that firmer hockey greats Mirnawan Nawawi and Nor Saiful Zaini one were the nations flag bearers at multi sports events, even at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

And OCM could have easily named Two flag bearers, one male and the other female. And this has been done before.

These Board members have failed to live up to their pre-election promises and let down the affiliates that voted then into position.

Next comes the plight of former hockey international N. Palanisamy Who was turned away from his follow up at a hospital in Seremban at Yakub had either withdrawn the facility to seek treatment at this private hospital or not made payments.

His plight was highlighted by none other then 1975 Hockey captain Dato Sri Shanmuganathan who calked me to highlight the issue,

“ As further Athletes , Yakeb told us we were entitled to get medical treatment up to RM2,500 per year but when Palanisamy went for his follow up, he was told that Yakeb will no longer pay for his treatment. Is this a new policy and why was it changed all of a sudden. Palanisamy has been getting follow up treatment at this private hospital and now wax told to go to a government hospital instead.”

So Yakeb should do the right thing by clearly stating what an ax athlete is entitled to or not, simple things like that do not need to be so technocrat right?

Anyway as I said sine things will never change in sports when you have little napoleons warning their chairs all over Jalil Hill.

Tu Kumar, one piece of advice though – go help the country win gold at Jakarta and if these same people who let you down come hug you and shower accolades, please show them the pole!