OLYMPIAN Ishtiaq Mobarak shared his athletics experience at the launching of the Milo-OCM-MSSM Junior Olympian Award in Kuala Lumpur recently.
Ishtiaq, who had represented Malaysia in the SEA, Commonwealth and Asian Games and the Olympics, said every young athlete must have a goal – to achieve excellence in the highest level.
“For me, it was my childhood dream to compete in the Olympics. My inspiration was Datuk Dr M. Jegathesan. He was the first Malaysian to qualify for the semi-finals in athletics in the Olympics. As a young boy, I had the chance to watch him run against some of the top athletes.
“I also had to endure a mishap – a bad accident – and many had written me off. But I was determined to make it and succeeded in athletics,'' said Ishtiaq, who qualified for the semi-finals of the 110m in the 1976 Olympics in Montreal.
He is keen to see more Malaysians aspire to compete in the Olympics. And felt that the Milo-OCM-MSSM Junior Olympian Award could be a catalyst to the young athletes.
Milo, in conjunction with the 29th edition of the Olympics in Beijing, will present the award to 29 Malaysians, aged below 15, who excel in sports and studies.
Nestle Products' coffee and beverages business executive manager Don Howat said it was the fifth time they were organising the awards.
“The first was in 1992 for the Barcelona Olympics. Some of the award winners were Nicol David, Ong Beng Hee, Au Li Yen and Lim Wai Chee and they went on to win honours for Malaysia.
“Likewise, we want these awards to be an inspiration to young athletes. We are pleased to have the Olympic Council of Malaysia and Malaysian Schools Sports Council as our partners,'' said Howat.
OCM president Tunku Tan Sri Imran Tuanku Ja'afar, who launched the awards, said Milo had always been a sports supporter at grassroots level.
“The award will serve as an inspiration and motivation to parents and children to better appreciate the ideals and noble values of the Olympic movement and its positive impact on their lives,'' said Tunku Imran.
Each winner will receive a Milo sports voucher valued at RM1,500, a certificate of excellence and a commemorative Junior Olympian medal.
The winners will be selected based on the achievements in the Olympic year (2008).
The winners will be announced in March next year.
Nomination forms are available at www.milo.com.my