OFF THE COURT: Sport officials do serve a purpose

National squash elite head coach Peter Genever (left) having a word with Delia Arnold in a filepic.

Public sentiment of our sport officials isn’t exactly at it’s best right now.

Especially with Malaysia falling short of its seven gold medal target at the Commonwealth Games earlier this month.

Much has been said about the high number of officials accompanying the athletes when Malaysia failed to bring in the goods.

But as a former athlete, I hope to enlighten everyone that every official who is there serve a purpose.

Not all sport officials are on a full-time basis and people need to understand that these guys put their all for the sports they are in charge of without getting paid.

Take a team manager for example – there’s a lot of behind-the-scenes things he has to do that people don’t see.

He’s got to work out the uniforms for the athletes, get the passes sorted out and is accountable for the team report after the event is over.

If he’s not doing it then who are going to assess the problems when things go wrong?

It’s the team manager who will compile the reports and submit it to their respective National Sport Associations (NSA) and the National Sports Council (NSC).

And they are definitely not there for a holiday. 

Let’s take squash for example, if there are three players and one of them plays in the morning while the others have matches in the evening, the coach or team manager have to be there the whole day. 

And it’s these officials that we need as part of a support group – to help, motivate and to make sure everything runs smoothly.

These officials are also the sportsmens best friend during the tournament as they are always the first to congratulate or comfort the athlete in accordance with the situation.

From my experience as a squash player for more than 10 years, I personally would like more people in my corner, supporting me when I play overseas.

It’s comforting especially when you’re down in a game, you turn around and see familiar faces supporting you.

But of course it’s a very grey area on the topic of these officials.
The public sentiment is – if we are not going to deliver, why send so many officials?

It’s understandable because it’s public funds we are talking about. 

I guess the best way to deal with it is sports that can’t deliver at major tournaments should not be there. 

We don’t want a sport to make up the numbers and indirectly it will solve the issue of too many officials.
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