The Malaysia rugby sevens team lost all their matches at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games recently. - AFP
GLASGOW: There will be no more free rides for athletes to multi-sport Games.
National Sports Council (NSC) director general Datuk Seri Zolkples Embong said they will not send athletes to next month’s Incheon Asian Games just to make up the numbers.
“Sports like rugby, judo and boxing fared badly in the Glasgow Commonwealth Games and don’t deserve to be sent to the Asiad,” Zolkples said when commenting on the performances of the Malaysian athletes in Glasgow.
“Athletes from these three sports participated in Glasgow because hosts Scotland gave us 216 free flight tickets. But they were a letdown.
“The national rugby team lost all their five matches badly … the judo exponents and boxers failed to win any win medals.
“These three sports need to prove themselves at the SEA Games level first before they will be considered for Commonwealth and Asian Games.”
He was clearly disappointed with sports like shooting and lawn bowls, considered gold-medal prospects, for failing to deliver the goods.
“We spend about RM2mil to RM2.5mil on the national shooters for international competitions and overseas trainings a year. They only managed to win a bronze medal through Nur Suryani Mohd Taibi in the women’s 10 air rifle event,” he said.
“Pistol shooter Joseline Cheah won a silver medal in the World Cup … but in Glasgow she only managed to finish seventh.
“Some of the senior shooters qualified for the Commonwealth Games but failed to deliver … they should be phased out gradually (and replaced) by the back-up shooters.
“We also spent a lot of money for the lawn bowlers to train and compete in international tournaments. We even hired a consultant from South Africa, Simon Botha, but they only managed two silvers.
“We will meet with the sports associations to discuss their coaching structures and training of the athletes.”
Zolkples was also concerned with the performance of the artistic gymnasts, who finishing empty-handed.
“The artistic gymnasts need to prove themselves in next year’s SEA Games in Singapore before they will be considered for the Commonwealth Games and Asiad,” he said.
“In rhythmic, Wong Poh San performed well in the individual ribbons event and was the favourite to win the gold medal … but there were claims of biased judging.”
He also said that the men’s hockey team “failed miserably” after losing 4-2 to unheralded Trinidad and Tobago.
“I won’t be surprised if they fare badly in the Asian Games … if they don’t buck up,” he said.
Zolkples was happy with the shuttlers’ performance in winning three gold medals.
He was, however, “annoyed” with the men’s singles players like Liew Daren and Chong Wei Feng for their poor performances.
“They were the top two seeds and were tipped to win the gold but they failed to win a medal,” said Zolkples, who was particularly annoyed with Daren’s pathetic performance.
“He never gives his best in competitions … I don’t know why BAM have send him for the Commonwealth Games.”
He was just as scathing when reviewing squash, saying that he was pleased to see Nicol David delivering the gold again while warning the back-up players to buck up.
“SRAM (Squash Racquets Association of Malaysia) also have to start cracking the whip to produce players who can win medals in the next Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast in 2018,” said Zolkples, who promised that NSC would be stricter in their selection process after seeing several sports failing to live up to expectations in Commonwealth.
“We want to send quality rather than quantity to the Asian Games,” said Zolkples.
And it’s about time, too!