Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Malaysia counts on big spending to boost sporting success
(Reuters) - After again narrowly missing out on their first Olympic gold medal in London earlier this year, Malaysia plans to spend 187.2 million ringgit ($61.24 million) in 2013 to boost the country's sporting performance.
"The challenge for us here is simply that that we don't just spend money, but to make sure that the money will generate sporting success," the Star daily reported youth and sports minister Ahmad Shabery Cheek as saying on Tuesday.
The figure is higher than spending in previous years and 8.5 million ringgit of the amount has been set aside for the biennial Malaysia Games, for under-21 athletes, to be held in Kuala Lumpur in June and July next year.
The heavy spending comes with the government hoping to shore up support among younger voters ahead of an election which it must call by April.
Malaysia won their first medal outside of badminton at the London Olympics this year, with Pandelela Rinong taking bronze in the women's 10 metre diving event.
"Although we didn't win gold this time, it was by far our best performance to date. And we know we can excel in different sports," Ahmad Shabery said.
($1 = 3.0570 Malaysian ringgits)
(Reporting By Siva Sithraputhran. Editing by Patrick Johnston)