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Sunday May 12, 2013

Zaiton: Athletes must be given freedom of speech

KUALA LUMPUR: Former national sportswoman Zaiton Othman (pic) said that all Malaysian athletes should be given the freedom to voice their opinion or grievances about the state of affairs in their respective sports.

“I have always been an advocate for freedom of speech amongst athletes,” said Zaiton, who is also National Sports Council (NSC) director of organisational development and athletes’ affair.

“Of course opinions have to be aired in a proper manner and should not veer from the truth.

“But at the end of the day constructive criticism can only benefit Malaysian sports,” said Zaiton.

She was responding to a question about national cyclist and Olympian Azizulhasni Awang who had tweeted about a fiasco at the Asian Cycling Championships in New Delhi in March. He had posted on his twitter about the lackadaisical attitude of the track team’s manager during the cycling championships.

Azizulhasni was subsequently told to be more responsible about what he posted on the social media.

Zaiton also hopes that all the national sport bodies will be more receptive to opinions from athletes.

“It is my hope that the National Sports Council (NSC) and the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) become more open to constructive opinions from the athletes,” said the former national athlete who has won many honours during her heydays.

Yesterday, Zaiton was present at an event to gather volunteers for the Malaysia Games (Sukma) which will be held in Bukit Jalil from June 28 to July 7.

Zaiton praised the volunteers and stressed the importance of the roles the 350 over volunteers will play. She also urged them to enjoy the occasion.

“I feel very proud to see so many volunteers in high spirits and ready for the Games and I wish them all the best and I hope they will enjoy what they are doing.”

All the volunteers are scheduled to undergo intensive training prior to the start of the Games.

The first round of training started yesterday. The second and final round starts on June 15.

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