Tuesday October 9, 2012
OCM boss: Let’s get cracking for Rio 2016
By ASHREENA PILLAI
KUALA LUMPUR: SportExcel chairman Tunku Tan Sri Imran Tuanku Ja’afar is disappointed by the lack of urgency in improving sports development in the country.
Tunku Imran, who is also the president of the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM), pointed out that athletes for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro “should have already been identified while those earmarked for the 2020 Games already incorporated into the Pelapis programme”.
“The lack of comprehensive development blueprints on the part of many of our national associations, including those that are Olympic sports, will make it harder to find talent of calibre,” he said at the SportExcel Individual Funding presentation ceremony at the Royal Selangor Club in Bukit Kiara yesterday.
Tunku Imran is hopeful that the Ministry of Education’s one-student-one-sport programme will help change all that and he also urged the National Sports Council (NSC) to organise more activities at junior levels in a bid to cast a bigger net to capture young talents.
He also encouraged the National Sports Associations (NSAs) to work with schools and the local community to establish local sports clubs who can utilise the school’s sports facilities during the weekend.
“It is important that we establish a strong strategy to engage young talents,” said Tunku Imran.
He also said that SportExcel have, since 1992, provided grants to 275 athletes and that “we will not turn our backs on junior athletes who need support”.
This year, SportExcel will provide funding to 47 juniors, compared to 39 last year, from nine sports, including bowling, cycling, gymnastics, swimming, squash and tennis.
SportExcel disbursed a total of RM66,500 to the selected juniors, who each received between RM1,000 and RM1,500.
Bowler Alistair Ting Lik Yang of Miri was surprised to receive the grant.
“I was surprised when my dad told me the good news. I was like “wow”.
“It’s my first time receiving the grant and I’m just very happy and grateful to SportExcel for recognising my talent and protential,” said Alistair, who received RM1,500.
The 13-year-old, who is also a state basketball player, hopes to use the money to buy himself a new pair of bowling shoes and ball.
Like Alistair, golfer Amir Nazrin Jalani was equally excited to receive the cheque.
The Sekolah Sri Bestari student, who will sit for his Penilaian Menengah Rendah (PMR) examinations today, is unsure how to spend the money.
“I don’t know. I’ll probably spend it on something that I have always wanted but ... I don’t know. I just know that receiving the grant will only help spur me to do better,” said the 15-year-old who counts world No. 1 Rory McIlroy as his favourite golfer.