Thursday June 21, 2012
Education Ministry: Students must compete in school tournaments
KUALA LUMPUR: There should not be any dispute over selection of athletes from the Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS) for international tournaments.
Education Ministry sports division director Ee Hong said they had an agreement with all sports associations on the authority over selection of students for competitions.
She said the priority was for BJSS students to compete in school events.
On Tuesday, BJSS came under the microscope when two of their top junior badminton players, Soong Joo Vern and Darren Isaac Devadass, walked out because they wanted to compete in the Asian Junior Championships instead of the Asean Schools meet.
The parents of the players decided that it was best for Joo Vern and Darren to leave because the school made it compulsory for them to compete in the Asean Schools championships in Indonesia from June 28-July 6.
The players had also been named by the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) for the Asian Junior Championships from June 30-July 7 in South Korea, which clashes with the Asean Schools meet.
The Asian Junior meet is more competitive and seen as a platform for the juniors to showcase their talents.
Ee Hong said they had acted fairly and should not be blamed if the students or their parents had chosen to take matters into their own hands.
“It’s a matter of policy. We have an agreement with BAM that the students will represent the country in all our competitions like the Asean Schools. There shouldn’t be any conflict over it,” said Ee Hong.
“We too would like our students to showcase their talent and the Asean Schools is an ideal venue to do so. To us, the Asean Schools is also a high level competition.”
Ee Hong said Joo Vern and Darren should have competed in the Asean Schools because they would have been still eligible for next year’s Asian Junior meet.
“The Asian Juniors is for those Under-19 and both Joo Vern and Darren are still eligible. They could have competed in the Asean Schools first. After all, they will still be presenting the country,” she said.
On the decision of the players to leave the school just months before the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM), Ee Hong said: “We wish they don’t leave but we can’t allow students or parents to do whatever they like. There is a policy and it should be respected.