Reezal to ring in changes

Former Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin was often described as tall, dark handsome.

And current Sports Minister Dato Seri Reezal Merican aptly should be described as bold, direct and honest.

While summing up the malaysia contingent performance and the Tokyo Olympics, Reezal had this to say.”

Insanity Is Doing the Same Thing Over and Over Again and Expecting Different Results”

This Reezal emphasises upon at the tail end of his summary with Olympic Council of Malaysia President Tan Sri Norza Zakaria nodding in agreement.

Yes under the pandemic condition the effort in winning one silver and one bronze is relatively commendable, bit that will not stop Reezal from ringing in the changes.

Reezal oversaw the preparations for Tokyo having taken over as Sports Minister in March last year.

The cycle started with KJ with Syed Saddiq making large scale changes in October 2018 after the Commonwealth Games and Asiad, supposedly on failures identified on a half baked post mortem orchestrated by the current NSC Director General.

And the Director of the Podium Program Tim Newenham and his array of exerts were sent packing, other nations benefiting years of expertise.

Though an all local task force was set up last year in July, its findings to enhance the Podium Program was kept under wraps, mostly due to the extra ordinary influence on the Minister by those surrounding him.

Since Malaysia’s first participation at 1956 Melbourne , the key factor has been to get as many athletes to compete at the highest level.

“ And it was not until 1992 Barcelona when Badminton was introduced that we started looking at medals rather then participation as an objective” reiterated DS Reezal.

“ A paradigm shift occured as we no longer looked at participation but started believing we could compete and no longer merely participate.”.

To the Minister the failure to land gold was not a big disappointment as the 30 athletes tried their level best.

“Gold has and will be our target and it was no different this time around as well but although we are still looking for the mother of all medals, we have to accept that we are not up to the desired levels.,” admitted the Kepala Batas MP.

“ In 2016 we started the Podium Program, initiated by my predecessor Khairy Jamaluddin and after the 2018 general elections where YB Syed Saddiq took over the mantle.

“ We will further enhance the Podium Program based on the recommendations put forward by the Task Force late last year,”

Reezal said as the Minister he believed in the methodology undertaken but now that Tokyo is over, it’s time to bring in changes.

“ For starters we are no longer looking at a single olympic cycle but change to a 8 year cycle that will encompass 4 SEA Games, 2 Asian and 2 Commonwealth Games plus two Olympics.” as he revealed initial plans.

“This will ensure continuity in terms of an athlete while we will invest more towards the preparation of the athlete and sport concerned.

“Enhancement of the Podium Program will be undertaken as soon as we get back.”

But perhaps the most significant announcement was the fact that KBS will initiate the empowerment of the national sports associations.

And with OCM being given a bigger role to play, their past actions as merely being a glorified travel agent will soon end.

“ At present we have specific development programs for football, hockey, rugby, cycling,

“ We will soon embark on sports such as aquatics , Badminton, athletics, gymnastics and tenpin bowling.

“These long term development programs are tailor made towards delivering medals in multi sports events”

The future seems bright so as long as Reezal is at the helm but the uncertainty on the political front is worrying.

But with Reezal bent on working some magic, let’s pray for the best.