Say What

Published: Thursday December 12, 2013 MYT 3:24:00 PM
Updated: Thursday December 12, 2013 MYT 3:27:07 PM

Where were all the Malaysian officials?

The Malaysian contingent walking into the Wunna Theikdi Stadium in Naypyitaw during the SEA Games opening ceremony. Why wasn't the chef-de-mission or anyone from the OCM there when Phoon Eyin won the 1,000th gold medal for Malaysia in women’s qiangshu? – Bernama Photo

The Malaysian contingent walking into the Wunna Theikdi Stadium in Naypyitaw during the SEA Games opening ceremony. Why wasn't the chef-de-mission or anyone from the OCM there when Phoon Eyin won the 1,000th gold medal for Malaysia in women’s qiangshu? – Bernama Photo

CHEFS-de-mission picked for each multi-Games sporting event play an important part in rallying the athletes and making sure their needs are taken care of as they strive to bring glory for the country.

But I really feel for the wushu athletes, who were already heading home for Kuala Lumpur when the SEA Games opening ceremony was under way.

Our exponents gave everything they had to secure the three-gold target It would have been more had it not been for questionable judging in some events.

They have to accept that things like this happen in subjective sports. What matters is that the target was achieved – giving the Malaysian contingent a golden headstart to the 27th edition of the SEA Games.

And the media, who took the trouble to come here early, were certainly wondering why chef-de-mission Datuk Wira Amiruddin Embi was not present when Diana Bong Siong Lin bagged the first gold medal for Malaysia on the first day of competition last week.

It’s not like Diana wasn’t expected to deliver the gold medal. She had, after all, won twice – in Korat (2007) and Vientiane (2009).

It was more of whether she could hold her nerves and reclaim the gold medal in women’s nanquan.

In fact, national team coach Yoong Thong Foong was mistaken for the chef-de-mission by the Myanmar organisers.

But that was gold was not as historic a landmark as the 1,000th gold medal for Malaysia which Phoon Eyin unexpectedly bagged in women’s qiangshu on Monday.

Amiruddin was not present either. In fact, none of the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) officials were there.

Amiruddin only arrived on Monday evening and, to be fair, he did go and visit the exponents at the Games Village.

But his comments the following day, when asked why he wasn't present when OCM knew of the possibility that the 1,000th gold medal milestone would be achieved early on in the Games, makes one wonder if he was indeed speaking in his capacity as the chef-de-mission.

Amiruddin said that the 1,000th-gold medal was not important and that he is only concerned about achieving his 40-gold target.

Previously, only Thailand and Indonesia could boast of such an achievement. So, how could he undermine the importance of such a landmark figure?

Even if he really meant what he said, aren’t the three gold medals won by wushu part of his so-called KPI (key performance index)?

Frankly, I believe it isn’t his KPI at all ... but that of the athletes, who have to fulfil their respective national sports associations’ (NSAs) promises instead.

The chef-de-mission’s role is to oversee the overall performance of all the sports Malaysia compete in.

Amiruddin also claimed that he had been “punished” by the media and that we did not give him a chance to explain his side of the story.

But when he was given the chance, he preferred to talk about his KPI instead.

By the way, can someone do something about the attire the Malaysian athletes wear for the march past at the multi-Games?

There was nothing special about the “Harimau” uniforms they wore for the Myanmar SEA Games opening ceremony. This should be seen as an opportunity for us to showcase our multi-cultural heritage.

Tags / Keywords: SEA Games, Malaysia, Myanmar, Naypyitaw, Nyapidaw, chef-de-mission, wushu, Amiruddin Embi

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