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Thursday September 19, 2013 MYT 7:31:00 PM
Thursday September 19, 2013 MYT 7:33:06 PM
by ashreena pillai
Datuk Seri Zolkples Embong: 'We need to go big on this ... and get the schools involved.'
KUALA LUMPUR: National Sports Council (NSC) director general Datuk Seri Zolkples Embong wants to see Malaysian gymnastics back at its best – hopefully by 2017, when Malaysia is expected to host the 29th edition of the SEA Games.
Zolkples was disappointed that gymnastics, despite being a core sport, has been left wanting.
The country has produced some outstanding gymnasts over the years, including the likes of Lim Wai Chi, Ng Shu Wai, Au Li Yen and Nurul Fatiha Abd Hamid in artistic discipline as well as Faiznur Miskin and Elaine Koon in the rhythmic discipline.
Sadly, gymnastics stopped producing results when they retired.
“In the 2001 SEA Games, gymnastics contributed 16 medals. Now, if we are to host the SEA Games in 2017 – which is four years away – we should be making a sweep (of the medals).
“But the way things are now, I just can’t see it happening,” Zolkples told a press conference after attending a one-day workshop involving the NSC, Education Ministry (MOE) and Malaysian Gymnastics Federation (MGF) and all its stakeholders at the National Sports Institute in Bukit Jalil on Thursday.
He described the workshop as “fruitful” because the NSC, MGF, state affiliates as well as the national and state coaches were able to voice their concerns on issues involving training and competitions.
“I want to see an action plan involving two things – a short-term goal of developing gymnasts with medal prospects for the 2017 SEA Games and a long-term one to get our gymnasts back to international level, competing for the biggest prize ... and I want it fast.
“We need to go big on this ... and get the schools involved. Just like diving, gymnastics needs to be inculcated at an early stage, say five to six years old. We need to see how we can implement programmes like Kindergym in classrooms and so on.”
Zolkples was also disappointed to see only one representative from the MOE present at the workshop.
He said it was “imperative for the ministry to work together (with other stakeholders) to get gymnastics going again”.
“I’m disappointed because for this to work, we need to really come together for a concerted effort. The MOE will play a vital role in getting the schools involved.
“It would have been nice to have more of them here so we can hammer out a plan,” he said.
Tags / Keywords:
gymnastics, gymnasts, Zolkples Embong, NSC, National Sports Council, Education Ministry, MOE
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