KUALA LUMPUR: The country is committed to achieving national sporting excellence as well as ensuring that it is a part of life for all Malaysians.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said that as a young nation, Malaysia needed sports to play a special role in its nation-building.
“It is during sports that strangers become friends and it serves as a means of building links between different cultures, races and religions that shape our society.
“I am committed to not only achieving national sporting excellence but making sure that it remains a part of life for Malaysians, which is why I set up a high-level Cabinet Committee for Sports chaired by the Deputy Prime Minister,” he said in his speech at the closing of the International Congress in Sports and Exercise Medicine here yesterday.
Also present at the event were his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, Federation of Internationale de Medicine du Sports (FIMS) president Prof Dr Fabio Pigozzi and Society of Sports and Exercise Medicine Malaysian (SSEMM) president Prof Datuk Mohd Mydin Musa.
Najib said the committee's strategy of focusing on eight core sports football, hockey, badminton, squash, bowling, gymnastics, aquatics and athletics seemed to be paying dividends.
He cited the recent victories achieved by world badminton No. 1 Datuk Lee Chong Wei at the recent All-England championships, world squash champion Datuk Nicol David and Malaysia's victory in the Suzuki Cup football tournament.
Najib said efforts to support world-class athletes must also be matched with similar advances in medical care, nutrition and support.
He added that Malaysia was lucky that its National Sports Institute was equipped with the latest technology.
“I am delighted that through exciting higher and educational opportunities like the 18-month training programme in association with the University of Bath, SSEMM is helping to create a pool of specialists and consultants in sports medicine,” Najib said.
At the function, Najib was awarded FIMS' Royal Plaque of Honour for his achievements and accomplishments in the promotion of sports and the administration of sporting activities.
Rosmah received a similar award for her interest in promoting welfare, sports, educational activities as well as championing the causes of women and children.