Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin will hold discussions with the national sports associations with regards to sending athletes who have not made it on merit to the SEA Games in Myanmar this December.
Citing the decision of the Malaysian Athletics Federation, who opted not to list “senior” athletes who failed to meet the qualifying mark for the SEA Games, Khairy said that he needed to gather viewpoints of the affected NSA’s before making a final decision.
“At first I was inclined to follow the suggestion by the NSC with regards to sending athletes who have served the nation well in the past,” said Khairy.
“But seeing the stand adopted by MAF, I feel it is necessary to hold discussions on this matter.
“There are two different stands taken, while the NSC feel these athletes still have it within them to deliver, MAF feel otherwise.
“So the best way out of this stalemate is to hold discussions and come to a common stand, and as a Minister I will listen to both sides and also gather views from others.”
Noraseela Khalid and Robani Hassan failed to make the 39-name shortlist by MAF and the NSC Director General Dato Seri Zolkples Embong was reported to have said that NSC were willing to fund their participation.
“Frankly I am more inclined towards developing the youth, but at times the experienced athletes deliver when it matters most,” said Khairy.
“Thus we need to weigh the options properly and put sentiments aside and look at the bigger picture. While development is important so are results and the public will be looking at medals at the SEA Games.
“I am willing to pay for athletes who can deliver at the SEA Games but at the same time need views of the national sports associations first.”
Under the Olympic Council of Malaysia's (OCM) criteria for major games, the Category A and B were introduced, namely to allow athletes who qualify on merit to be listed under Category A and athletes who did not make the cut, be listed under Category B.
The cost of participation for athletes under Category A will be borne by the OCM while the respective National Sports Associations will have to bear the cost of sending athletes under Category B.
However, if athletes under Category B win a gold medal, their expenditure will be reimbursed by OCM while athletes who win a silver medal will have a part of their expenditure reimbursed by the OCM.