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.
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.