Saturday, May 21, 2016

Chong Wei speaks his mind

Lee Chong Wei will not be part of Malaysia's Thomas Cup campaign in the future.

In other words the failed quest for the Thomas Cup will be the last Malaysians will see Chong Wei in the inter team event.

Below is my phone interview with Chong Wei today, having received two calls earlier in the day from the darling of Nalaysian Badminton.

" Words cannot describe how I feel now. Of course it is disappointing but this is reality.

" Losing in such a manner is obviously very painful. We had taken a 2-0 lead and won the first game of the second doubles.

' I am totally gutted at the turn of events as I wanted so much to deliver the Thomas Cup for the Malaysian public who have always supported Badminton.

" We cannot blame any player as we were simply not good enough to win, and the sooner we accept that fact the better it will be for our future.

" Iskandar tried his best but the pressure got to him. He was put in the deep end and did his level best but he just could not get his act together.

" As for the doubles and Wei Fung, I cannot fault them for trying as they did what they could under the circumstances

'We have a long way to go to win the Thomas Cup and I hope BAM will look very hard into their planning.

" The squad is the best we have in the country so it's not fair to blame anyone for the want of trying.

"I have decided not to play in the next Thomas Cup campaign although I am certain I will still be the number 1 ranked Malaysian  player in two years time.

"Anyone that wants to take my place as the top ranked player will have to earn their stripes as I will play on in the various tournaments.

" I am back in Malaysia on Mobday and on the courts on Tuesday, preparing for the Indonesian Open as I will leave for on Saturday.

" Once again I apologise to all Malaysisns for our failure at the Thomas Cup. There are lessons to be learnt and I do hope those responsible will take heed of it.

"It is not my job to tell others how todo their work. Suffice to say I will do my talking on the court."

From my assessment there was surely something wrong in China and hopefully I will be able to write more once I meet Chong Wei for coffee on Tuesday, my health permitting.  



Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Give Credit Where Due

While there have been criticism on the ticketing aspects of the FA Cup, many have opted to exclude some good outcomes from the cup final.

With more then 70,000 fans packing the Shah Alam Stadium, credit must go to the security personnel led by the PDRM, FAM, FMLLP, Shah Alam City Council and others.

It was surely a cup final to remember from the security aspects as there was no glares, fireworks, pitch invasion or even throwing of items into the pitch.

When was the last time you remember a Football match not marred by incidents such as flares or firecrackers or even rockets?

The fans were well behaved and the manner in which the gates were handles was superb, not gate crashing, over crowding and infighting by the fans.

The credit must surely go to the PDRM who planned and handled the Cup final well, even holding a briefing prior to the final at the Shah Alam police HQ.

And the pitch held up well considering the fact that it rained earlier in the afternoon and the match was at times played at a steady drizzle.

Thus it was perplexing to see no credit given to members of the security who toiled hard to endure the safety of many fans.

A thumbs up also for the Organised way the prize presentation was held as the stage was a welcome relief  from the past as it was a sight to behold, visible to many and not overcrowded.

There can surely be improvements but one must be brace enough to give credit where it's due, especially to those behind the scenes like the security personnel, ticket collectors, stewards and Rela.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Uncapped Player in National Football Squad to be announced Wesnesday

There are expected to be some changes to the national squad when coach Dato Ong Kim Swee names his training  squad of 25 on Wesnesday.

Keeping his cards close to his chest, the Nakacca born coach said that his observation of matches in the M- League by him and his coaching staff as well as from feedback of coaches of state and clubs has given him a clear indication as to who will carry the Malaysian challenge for the Asia Cup playoffs.

Malaysia will play Timor Leste in a two leg playoff at the Larkin Stadium on June 2 and 6.

But before that Malaysia will take on Myanmar in a friendly on May 27.

" I have virtually decided on the 25 players to be named on Wednesday and all I can say is there will be sone surprises," said Kim Swee.

" The players will report for camp on May 22 with  the exception of players from JDT who must report after their AFC Cup match on May 26.

" We leave for Myanmar on May 27 and will then go directly to Johor Baru on May 29."

While scoring has been a problem for The national squad, Kim Swee however is not expected to pencil strikers Safee Sali and Nor Shahril Idlan Taaka into the squad.

However Hazuan Bakri of Selangor is expected to return to the team after recovering from an injury.

There is also talk of an uncapped player getting a nod as well as a former striker who is expected to be given a second lease of life.

After the Timor Leste matches, the national team will leave for Brisbane on June 11 to set up camp before playing matches against Papua New Guinea, Fiji and New Caledonia over a 20 day period, returning home in June 29.

" All I can say at the moment is that there will be surprises and that the team to be named is the best I am able to pick after observations of their performances over the past month," said Kim Swee.

" Wait till Wednesday and let's not speculate."

Sunday, May 01, 2016

Chong Wei gives Wife timely birthday present

" There are no words that can describe my feeling after defeating the top two Chinese players at their home turf," said Lee Chong Wei in a phone call to this blogger after defeating Chen Long to bag the Badmonton Asia Championships.

It was an amazing display of attacking Badminton as Chong Wei defeated the World number one in the final.

It was even more sweeter as Chong Wei got the better of his nemesis Lin Dan in the quarterfinal.

' Well you can say this Isa small birthday present for my Wife Wong Mew Choo. But it's a present to all adoring Badminton fans who stood by me even when results do not go my way," said Chong Wei.

" Although I cherish the win, I have my feet firmly planted on the ground and my head on my shoulders. No point getting carried away.

" It is the Olympics that matter and my preparations are on track towards that."

Chong Wei tool the first set but made uncharacteristic mistakes in the second and conceded that before winning the third.

" The air conditioning was switched on in the second set and this affected the flight of the shuttle," explained Chong Wei.

" It took me some time to find the rhythm again and hence I made those judgement errors."

Chong Wei said that he believed Lin Dan and Chen Long had something up their sleeves for the Olympics.

" I will now concentrate on the Thomas Cup followed by the Indonesian Open and the Aussie Open, " said Chong Wei.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

SEA GAMES POINTS TO PONDER

The statement by the Sports Minister that the judgement call by the Olympic Council of Malaysia on the selection of sports for the 2017 SEA Games is a welcome interference that many National Sports Associations will appreciate.

One needs to have a closer look at the sports being contested and see if at all it will get the support of the participating countries.

Perhaps those in the decision making process would want to have a rethink after having read the following analysis that could force a differing decision.

One of the basic principles of the 29th SEA Games is that it should not have less sports than in the 28th SEA Games 2015, which had 36. 

Hence the 29th SEA Games should have at least 36 or more. 

To me, 38 sports would be fair. In addition there should be around 400 events, as Singapore had 402 events. 

Another principle is that other SEA Games countries should be given the opportunities to excel in some sports they are good in.  

The Organising Committee of the 29th SEA Games should not simply delete events that would not have any impact on the overall medal tally of the 29th SEA Games.  

In other words, countries with limited chances to win medals should not see the sports and events they are good at be dropped, thus depriving them a fair chance of winning some medals.  

If the objective is to restrict Thailand from winning too many gold medals by deleting some sports and events they are strong, the Organising Committee should not do the same with sports and events in which the other SEA Games countries (other than Thailand) have chances of winning medals.  

This is more so in the case of Indonesia and Philippine, the next host of the 2018 Asian Games and the 30th SEA Games in 2019. 

The Organising Committee has approved 34 sports. 

They are Athletics, Aquatics (Swimming, Diving, Synchronized Swimming, Open Water and Water Polo), Archery (Recurve and Compound), Badminton, Basketball, Boxing, Cricket, Cycling including Track Cycling, Equestrian including Polo, Football including Futsal, Golf, Gymnastics, Hockey including 5-a-side, Ice Hockey, Ice Skating, Karate, Lawn Bowls, Netball, Pencak Silat, Petanque, Rugby 7s, Sailing, Sepaktakraw including Chinlone, Shooting, Snooker & Billiards, Squash, Table Tennis, Taekwondo,  Tennis, Tenpin Bowling, Volleyball (Indoor), Water Ski, Weightlifting and Wushu.  

From the above list of 34 sports, the NOCs of Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam will probably not be participating in the following 12 sports, namely, Cricket, Equestrian, Hockey, Ice Hockey, Ice Skating, Lawn Bowls, Netball, Rugby 7’s, Sailing, Squash, Tenpin Bowling, Water Ski and the following disciplines Synchronized Swimming, Open Water Swimming, Water Polo, and Track Cycling.

Myanmar and Brunei Darussalam will most probably not be participating in the above 12 sports, with the exception of Equestrian, Hockey, Sailing, Netball and Squash and the following disciplines Synchronized Swimming, Open Water Swimming, Water Polo, Track Cycling and Polo. Brunei will participate in Lawn Bowls. 

Philippine will probably not participate in Cricket, Hockey, Lawn Bowls, and the following disciplines Synchronized Swimming, Open Water Swimming and Polo.

Indonesia, Singapore and Thailand will probably participate in all the above 34 sports, but may miss out some disciplines, such as Track Cycling for Singapore.

The sports/discipline that may face limited participation are:

Track Cycling – only Thailand, Indonesia, Philippine and Malaysia have veladrome. If any two countries were to drop out from any event, that event would be dropped, as minimum of 3 countries are required.

Lawn Bowls – Brunei Darussalam, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and may be Philippine  will participate. 

Hockey – Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore. The Indonesia Hockey Federation is still suspended by the Indonesia Olympic Committee. Brunei may participate although most unlikely. 

Ice Hockey and Ice Skating – so far, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippine and Singapore have indicated their interest to participate. 

Netball - Brunei Darussalam, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Myanmar and Philippine 

The Organising Committee has dropped a number of sports that are popular with most of the SEA Games countries. These sports are Fencing with 10 countries and 87 male fencers and 71 female fencers and Judo with 9 countries and 43 male athletes and 39 female Athenes

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

PODIUM - DARE NOT FAIL PROGRAMME

Many have presented their views on the Podium Programme without looking at it with wider perspective and at the same time lay claim to be the Gods of Malaysian sports


No one disputes that such a Programme is needed but the manner in which it is being done leaves us asking more questions then the answers these so called experts provide.


The expats have played safe by not going into details and thus their conclusions are irrational. Why bring established stars like Dato’ Lee Chong Wei, Dato’ Nicol David, Azizul Hasni Awang etc., who are already doing well under the present system and are free to get their own sponsors. 


Is this not part of the ‘sports industry’, the KBS has been trying to promote and develop. 


Why are they scared to take on young talents and train them to be world beaters?  


Nurul Huda was a nobody at 11 years old in 1983, yet 2 two years later at 13 years of age she won 7 gold medals at the Bangkok SEA Games and 1 one silver and one bronze at the Seoul 1986 Asian Games.  


Champions can be developed and built if one has the guts to face the challenges. 


Badrul Hisham can be like a second Nurul. 

 
Why place such importance on the Games results?

Why not bring each sport back to their hey days 

For example Hockey to the   1975 standard and qualifying for Olympic Games ia routine. 

Badminton, back to the 60s and 70s and 2000s, when Malaysia was very good and not relying on only 1 player. 

Football to 1972 and 1980 days, Athletics to 1966, etc.
 
What they are trying to do is to pass a exam by answering the easy questions and leaving the tough ones alone as they have gave up hope of scoring 8 As, instead of just 8 Ps.


The Podium Programme has certain contradictions. 


The first is that the people who prepared and are in charge of the Podium Programme have to ensure that it would not fail. 


As such, they have set themselves ridiculously low targets. 


The first contradiction is that if athletes who have already won medals at the 2014 Asian and Commonwealth Games, without the Podium Programme, why do they need to be in the Podium Programme now?

 

This is more so in the case of established senior world ranked athletes, such as Dato’ Lww Chong Wei, who is  33 years and Dato’ Nicol David who is 32 years. 


By 2020, they would

 probably be pass their prime. On the other hand, the Podium Programme has included them not so much for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, but for the 2018 Commonwealth Games, where together they can deliver 4 gold medals, or a third of Malaysia’s total gold medal tally, in order to meet the target of ‘restore top 10 finish in the Gold Coast’. 

 

As for the 2018 Asian Games, Dato’ Nicol David would be good for at least 2 gold medals, depending whether the 2018 Asian Games Organising Committee will included Team Squash or not.  In the case of Dato’ Lee, Jakarta would not be as easy as the Gold Coast. Winning even a gold medal would be really challenging, as to date, Dato’ Lee has not won an Asian Games Badminton gold medal.

 

Some other athletes who are in the same category are Azizulhasni Awang, who is 28 years (years) Fatehah Mustapah (27 years), Tenpin Bowlers Shalin Zulkifli (38 years) and Alex Lew (40 years) and Platform Dicer Leong Mun Yee (31 years) 

 

Why should these athletes be included in the Podium Programme.  They should of course still be supported, but the medals they win at the Commonwealth and the Asian Games should not be taken to judge the success or failure of the Podium Programme, as they were already winning medals, even before Year 2014. Why should the Podium Programme claim credit for the hard work carried out by others before them.

 

The Podium Programme appears to be nervous or do not have the guts to identify young talents and train them to become champions, as what had been done in the past, before the Podium Programme is launched.  There are a few talented young athletes, namely, Jonathan Wong Guanjie (23 years), Asian 10m Air Pistol Champion, Jupha Somnet (23 years), silver in Points Race and bronze is the Scratch Race, Goh Jin Wei (16 years), 2015 World Junior Women Badminton Singles Champion, Badrul Hisham (18 years), who have the potential to win medals at the 2018 Commonwealth Games and the 2018 Asian Games. 

 

Why the Podium Programme is not prepared to take some risks and train up world beaters from the abundance group of young talented athletes, instead of playing safe by relying on established senior athletes, who have probably reached their peak 

 

Another reason for saying the Padium Progamme is playing a very safe game is that they have treated the standard of the various sports in the Asian Games and the Commonwealth Games to be the same. This wrong assumption, deliberate or otherwise, makes the achievement of the targets much simpler. 

 

Athletes who win  medals in Badminton, Diving, Shooting, and Weightlifting in the Commonwealth Games would not guarantee them medals in even the SEA Games or the Asian Games.  As for the Asian Games sports like Squash, Sepaktakraw, Wushu, really carry very little weight and prestige because of the lack of competitiveness in these sports. 

 

Thus counting gold medals or just medals won at the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games is no gauge of the progress Malaysia has made in its sports development under the Podium Programme.  It may even confuse and mislead Malaysians to feel good when the actual value the opposite. 

 

In conclusion, the Podium Programme in its present form is a ‘NO FAIL’ Programme and the targets set are to justify the large amount of budget to be spent in an environment of non-sports sectors having to tighten their belts in view of the economic and financial challenges and sacrifices all Malaysians have been asked to bear.


Saturday, February 06, 2016

WILL PODIUM DO THE TRICK?

Malaysia’s Podium Programme

 

Congratulations to the young and energetic Malaysian Minister of Youth and Sports, The Hon. Mr. Khairy Jamaluddin, for the successful, inspiring and motivational launch of the Malaysia’s Podium Programme for Malaysian sports.

 

The objectives of the Podium Programme are quite straightforward: 

• win Malaysia’s first Olympic Games gold medal in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games,
• restore top 10 finish in the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games and the Jakarta 2018 Asian Games, 
• have 10 athletes in world top 6 ranking and 
• sustainable sporting excellence beyond 2020.  

 

The above programme is a safe and no-fail programme, because the objectives have always been there and have been achieved in the past and will be achieved with or without the Podium Programme. 

 

The first objective of winning Malaysia’s first Olympic Games gold medal is not realistic. Why not in Rio 2016 Olympic Games?  For 2016, there is Dato’ Lee Chong Wei, who has a realistic chance of winning the Badminton Singles gold medal. 

 

By 2020, with the retirement of Dato’ Lee Chong Wei, there is really no Badminton player in sight, (compared to the young players of Japan, China, etc.), who has the potential to win the gold medal.  It is the same with other sports, although if Karate is approved for Tokyo 2020, there are hopes.  Can the Podium Programme produce an Olympic Games gold medal in 2020, when Malaysia has even given up hope for winning in 2016, even before the Olympic Games? 

 

The table below show the medal tally of the Malaysia Contingent in the last 5 Asian and Commonwealth Games from 1998 to 2014.

 

 

    COMMONWEALTH GAMES

          ASIAN GAMES

 

Gold

Silver

Bronze

      Rank*

Gold

Silver 

Bronze

      Rank*

 

 

 

 

Gold

Total

 

 

 

Gold

Total

2014

6

7

6

12

12

5

14

14

14

13

2010

12

9

14

5

5

9

18

14

10

10

2006

7

12

10

8

7

8

17

17

11

9

2002

7

9

18

8

7

6

8

16

12

10

1998

10

13

12

4

4

6

10

14

11

11

• Rank: Gold - based on total gold medal tally.
• Rank: Total – based on total medal tally.

 

The table above shows that except for the 2014 Commonwealth Games, Malaysia was ranked in the top 10 from 1998 to 2010, in both gold medal tally and total medal tally, with the best ranking being in 1998 when Malaysia was the host. For the Asian Games, the best ranking was 10 in the 2010 Asian Games with the worst in 2014 with a ranking of 14. If the ranking is based on total medal tally, then Malaysia is in the top 10 in 3 out of the 5 recent Asian Games, with one ranking of 11.  

 

As such the targets set by Podium Programme for the 2018 Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games are too low, as they have already been achieved in past Games. A more realistic target would be not to consider the ranking, but to use a target of 15 gold medals and 50 total medals, or ranked 8thand 9th for the Malaysian Contingent in both the 2018 Commonwealth Games and the 2018 Asian Games, respectively. The reason for this is that the Podium Programme is a massive programme with at least 70 staff, comprising experts in all fields, both foreign and local, while in the past Games, the same targets were achieved without very much less staff and budget. 

 

The third objective of having 10 athletes in world top 6 ranking is also rather vague as Malaysia has already achieved more than this target today.  The athletes who have achieved 6th place or better world ranking are Dato’ Nicol David, Dato’ Lee Chong Wei, Divers, Track cyclists Azizulhasni, Archers, Lawn Bowls athletes, Sepaktakraw athletes, Karate athletes, etc. Here again the Podium Programme has set itself a target that has been achieved over the last 10 years at least. 

 

The condition that proven medallists in the Olympic, Asian and Commonwealth Games would be included in the Podium Programme, is rather puzzling.  Although they are proven medallists, some of them could be past their prime by 2018 and 2020. The terms and conditions for young and promising athletes, who are not proven medallists in the Olympic, Asian and Commonwealth Games, for inclusion in the Podium Programme, have not been specified.  This may well prove to be the Achilles’ heel of the Podium Programme

 

In the case of Team Sport, the Men’s Hockey team has won medals in past Commonwealth Games and Asian Games (not gold).  They have the potential of achieving a podium finish in the Cold Coast and in Jakarta.  Any chance of the Men’s Hockey Team being included? 

 

In conclusion, except for objective 1, winning the Olympic Games gold medal in 2020, the Podium Programme is a NO FAIL programme, for reasons stated above.  At the end it would be really difficult to evaluate and as such it would be deemed to be a success. To be fair, if any evaluation is to be done in 2020, it should be based on the amount of funds spent on the Programme and the returns on investment, based on realistic and challenging targets and not on the targets set by the Podium Programme itself. 

 

 

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

CHONG WEI BREAKS SILENCE

"* I play for myself and the country. So I take defeats seriously no matter what the critics may say."

That was what Dato Lee Chong Wei said in what was his first public appearance after his qualifying round exit at the Korean Open two weeks ago.

The former world number one was present to sign up for Petsling Jaya Badminton Club for the forthcoming season of the Malaysian Purple League on November 4.

" No one wants to lose and it's no different for me. At times things ( surprise defeats) happen and there can be no way to explain, " said Chong Wei who sat out of last seasons MPL as he was undergoing a doping suspension.

" My coaches, Hendrawan and Tey Seu Bock have been putting me through drills to sharpen my play and iron out chinks in my armour.

" I have a tight schedule over the next two months and need to redouble my efforts".

When asked about his frosty relationship with BAM Technical Director Mortern Frost, Chong Wei said he would rather not comment.

" I am happy to represent Petaling Jaya BC as Yogendran and I go back a long way as friends," added Chong Wei.

Petsling Jaya BC were given a pleasant surprise when KLRC Chairman stepped up to provide them with a RM1 million sponsorship.

" I feel that PJBC have a good set-up and will do well, " said KLRC Chairman Dato Sri Andrew Kam.

Saturday, April 04, 2015

TOUGH TIMES

The 24th edition of the Azlan Shah Cup gets underway in Ipoh from April 5-12.

But rather then provide information, the organisers have opted for a cold shoulder treatment to this website which has provided comprehensivecoverage over the past four years.

Request for information such as team lists and other tournament info has been ignored making it tough to get in touch with coaches to get their views on team chances.

Rather then fret over what is largely an incompetent organisation that runs plagiarised stories on their website, we will strive to do our best to provide coverage for the thousands of fans out there.

National associations and hockey writers can lift our stories but please credit accordingly so that those paid mega bucks will not lay claim that it was their effort.

So follow us at the website and Twitter to get the best coverage of the event.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

EIGHT SHORTLISTED FOR NSC DG POST

Eight individuals have been shortlisted for interview for the position of the National Sports Council Director General.

The interviews will be held next Tieday with a decision made by Thursday when the NSC Board holds its meeting.

According to insiders, the interviews are to be conducted by the Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin himself and he is expected to table the decision to the NSC Board as provided for the NSC Act 1971.

Among those shortlisted are current SportsCommissioner Ahmad Shapawi Ismail, former Sports Ministry Secretary General Salim Parlan, Ireland Badminton CEO Richard Vaughan and National Foitball Development Program board member Dr. Hamdan Ali.

The other four candidates are said to be academicians 

For the position of High Prrformance Director,  among those who applied is Damien  Kelly who headed the Doha 2006 Program.

However the interviews for that position will only be held in January.