Saturday February 23, 2013
Give bowling its due recognition, says Sidney
KUALA LUMPUR: Retired Malaysian Tenpin Bowling Congress (MTBC) secretary Sidney Tung has made a passionate plea to the government to give the sport its due recognition.
The 68-year-old Sidney, who ended his 35-year service with the MTBC due to illness, hopes the Government will lift the status of bowling as an entertainment sport and give its due standing as an elitist sport.
The MTBC have been paying monthly entertainment fees, which amounts to thousands of ringgit, to the Government although bowling is one of the eight core sports under the National Sports Council (NSC). All owners of bowling centres are required to pay a monthly fee because bowling is classified as an entertainment sport.
“When bowling won three gold medals at the Doha Asian Games in 2010, the then Sports Minister (Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said) told me that she would grant MTBC any thing. I only asked her for one thing – don’t categorise bowling as an entertainment sport,” said Sidney at MTBC’s special appreciation night on Thursday.
“Azalina said okay but she was later transferred to the Tourism Ministry. I had made the same request with to two previous Sports Ministers before Azalina.
“I am retiring and all I hope is for bowling to be given its due status. It is no longer a parlour game and we have proven it with a string of excellent results and programmes.
“We could use that money to develop juniors in all the states and provide better facilities for them,” he added.
All past and present internationals attended the special appreciation night, which was to honour Sidney for his unwavering dedication and contribution to the sport since he joined MTBC as an assistant secretary in 1978.
He was made a secretary in 1980 and worked together with MTBC president Datuk Dr P. S Nathan. They transformed bowling into one of the most productive sports for the country.
“I will never forget the World Tenpin Team Cup in 2002. To me, that was the most wonderful results as we won both the men and women’s team titles. Sometimes I watch replays of these moments in video and tears will roll down my eyes. It was an amazing fight displayed by our bowlers,” he said.
Sidney was diagnosed with nasopharyngeal cancer in 2004, but he continued to serve the sport tirelessly. He managed to beat the disease in 2010 but unfortunately he suffered a stroke last year.
“It is not easy for me to say goodbye to the sport that I have given half of my life. I overcame cancer but my sudden illness (the stroke) cut short my working tenure with MTBC. I love the sport but I know that I cannot hang on to the job when I cannot give my best,” he said.
“It’s best for me to retire but I will be available whenever I am needed as a volunteer. I will still be coming to the MTBC office whenever I am free. I want to do this until the last days of my life.”
Sidney also paid tribute to Nathan.
“I have spent many many years with Nathan and all those have been wonderful years.
“I would also like to thank the others, whom I have worked with. I have received great support from all of them like the late Peter Yap, Sid Allen (bowling’s first foreign coach), OCM president Tunku Tan Sri Imran Tuanku Ja’afar and secretary Datuk Sieh Kok Chi and our vice-president George Heng,” said Sidney.
On his replacement Cheah Ban Cheng, Sidney said: “He is the best man for the job. I have no doubts that he will do an excellent job.”
Meanwhile, Tunku Imran also paid tribute to Sidney.
“MTBC president Datuk P. S Nathan provides a strong leadership while Sidney is the anchor of the sport in the country.
“Under them, bowling has shown good governance, great programmes and high achievements. I hope that Sidney will remain active and creative even after retiring.
“I even challenge him to write a book about Malaysian bowling. He has all the credentials and capacity to do so,” said Tunku Imran.