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Wednesday October 10, 2012

Ramlan backs Tunku Imran’s view and wants the NSAs to get moving

KUALA LUMPUR: Start preparing for the 2016 Olympics now! That’s the view of former National Sports Institute (NSI) chief operating office Datuk Dr Ramlan Aziz (pic).

He is the second person to slam the National Sports Associations’ (NSAs) lackadaisical approach towards the Rio Games.

Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) president Tunku Tan Sri Imran Tuanku Ja’afar had, on Monday, hit out at the lack of urgency in improving sports development in the country. “Our trend here is to concentrate on the SEA Games, Asian Games, Commonwealth Games and then the Olympics – in that order,” said Ramlan after the launch of OCBC Cycle Malaysia 2013 at Chinoz on the Park in Suria KLCC yesterday.

“That’s what happened in Beijing 2008 and London this year. Our athletes only started preparing for the Games two years earlier, instead of four. This shouldn’t be the way.

“Our athletes need a solid four years to prepare for the Olympics. If we are really serious about the 2016 Games, our preparations need to start by 2013. The athletes identified for the Games, like Azizulhasni Awang and Pandelela Rinong, must be provided with the best facilities, equipment and support for the next four years to give them the best shot at the Games.”

Ramlan, who is now the special advisor to the Ministry of Youth and Sports, also warned that Rio should not be the end game.

“It shouldn’t just end with Rio. We should also be looking at our world junior champions and those who can compete after 2016. We need to get the system aright,” he said.

Meanwhile, Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek hopes that the proposed indoor velodrome in Nilai, as announced during the 2013 Budget, will be the catalyst that will transform Malaysia into a cycling nation.

“The velodrome is a necessity. We want to build the best velodrome not only in the country, but the region as a way to develop the sport further,” he said.

Ahmad Shabery, who was first to sign up for the OCBC Cycle Malaysia 2013’s The Challenge category, was quick to point out that Britain only became a cycling powerhouse after building a velodrome for the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester.

“Our main aim is to make cycling accessible to the public. We’re looking into making Malaysia a cycling-friendly nation with smart urban planning that will support a cycling lifestyle,” he said.

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