It was an interesting year for sports enthusiasts in the Klang Valley.
The viewing parties, organised by sponsors, were well appreciated by football fans. Fans flocked to pubs, restaurants and other venues as they had the opportunities to watch their favourite teams, be it in the FIFA World Cup or English Premier League, in a friendly and sporting atmosphere.
The sponsors – Carlsberg and GAB – also organised several events to excite fans and offered exclusive merchandise as prizes. The viewing parties have become a weekly affair and offer an excellent platform for sponsors to gain exposure and publicity.
The FIFA World Cup, held in Brazil, also attracted a lot of interest. All the matches were shown live. But fans preferred to watch the matches at their favourite outlets.
As everyone knows, Germany became the first European team to win the coveted trophy in South American soil. Germany edged Argentina 1-0 after extra-time with the winning goal coming from Mario Goetze in the 113th minute of the game.
The AFF Suzuki Cup, organised by the Asean Football Federation (AFF), also generated a lot of interest among Malaysians. Malaysia overcame the odds to qualify for the two leg final.
However there was no joy for the almost 100,000 fans, including Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, at the second leg, played at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil.
Malaysia, who had lost 2-0 to Thailand in the first leg, squandered a 3-0 lead in the second leg, and lost 4-3 on aggregate.
However the competition was marred by rioting during Malaysia’s semi-final match against Vietnam at the Shah Alam Stadium. Several Malaysian fans, obviously unhappy with the result (Malaysia lost 2-1 in the first leg), attacked the Vietnam fans. This led to Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin apologising. However, Malaysia overcame the deficit by beating Vietnam 4-0 in the second leg to book their place in the final.
The rioting Malaysian fans were identified and charged in court.
The Football Association of Selangor (FAS) league was also marred by on-field violence during the Super Division final between PNSB and Subang Jaya Municipal Council (MPSJ).
National referee P. Jeevanathan was attacked after he signalled the end of the match won by PNSB by a solitary goal.
Several players and match officials rushed and man-handled Jeevanathan, who had to be escorted by Rela officials to safety. The FAS disciplinary committee slapped the guilty players and officials with suspensions and fines.
If not for the ugly incident, the FAS league is a platform for social and budding football to be active in the game. About 100 teams take part in the league with three divisions – Super, Premier and Division One – and the FA Cup.
The AND1 3 on 3 Streetball Challenge, organised by W.O.S World of Sports for the 11th season, was also well received by young basketball players.
The grand final, at Berjaya Times Square, was a culmination of a five leg circuit. About 1,000 youngsters, representing 300 odd teams, gathered at the venue and made the challenge a lively affair.
W.O.S World of Sport executive director Saw Swee Leong said the challenge was a big success.
“We have created a platform for young basketball enthusiasts to get together and have fun. It has grown into a major event in the Klang Valley, We are looking at ways to make the event more exciting.
“We have to thank our main sponsor – Milo – for supporting,’’ said Swee Leong.
The Race Walkers Association of Malaysia (RWAM) organised their annual MKH International 12-Hour Walk in Seremban.
Australians Michelle Thompson and Timothy John Erickson emerged as champion in the women and men’s categories respectively.
Badminton ace Lee Chong Wei and wushu exponent Tai Cheau Xuen had also created ripples among sports fans. Both were suspended following positive doping tests.
Chong Wei was suspended indefinitely by the Badminton World Federation (BWF) on Nov 11, following a positive doping test at the World Championships in Copenhagen, Denmark, while Cheau Xuen was penalised for failing a doping test during the Incheon Asian Games in September.
On the bright side, squash queen Nicol David was crowned the world champion for the eighth time and Sazali Samad won his 10th Mr Universe title at the World Bodybuilding and Fitness Physique (WBFP) Championships in Mumbai, India.
Meanwhile, The National Sports Council (NSC), responsible for the preparations for the Malaysian contingent for multi-sports games, have a new director- general in Ahmad Shapawi Ismail.
Ahmad Shapawi has a big task ahead and has to work closely with the National Sports Associations (NSA) to draw up training and development at grassroots to revive Malaysia’s sporting excellence in the international arena.