BUKIT JALIL: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad admitted that he may not be a good example when it comes to getting enough exercise.
While the 93-year-old Prime Minister is famous for his habit of working almost non-stop, he confessed that he did not do enough physical exercise.
Speaking at the launch of the National Sports Day, Dr Mahathir reminded Malaysians on the importance of being active in sports and exercise especially if they lead a sedentary lifestyle.
He then added in a lighter vein that he was unfortunately not a good example.
“I don’t exert myself physically as much as I urge others to do.
“People should do what I don’t do – don’t follow Dr Mahathir, he is not quite right because he asks others to do sports when he doesn’t,” he said.
Dr Mahathir said he did not take part in many sports activities in school, with the exception of rugby.
“With rugby, it does not require physical skill. If you are brave enough to bash your head against the heads of opponents, then you can play.
“You don’t need to be very skilled, just need to quarrel with opponents, that’s why I played rugby,” he said.
Celebrated on the second Saturday of October each year, the event organised by the Youth and Sports Ministry aims to make Malaysia a sporting nation.
Apart from the national-level launch and celebration held here yesterday, Malaysians from all walks of life took part in concurrent celebrations and activities nationwide.
Dr Mahathir said he was proud of Malaysia’s sporting achievements including the seven gold medals won at the 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia held from Aug 18 to Sept 2.
The Prime Minister also lauded the performance of Malaysia’s para athletes who have won 17 gold medals at the Asian Para Games which is also being held in Indonesia, from Oct 8 to 16.
Two Malaysian para athletes –Mohamed Ridzuan Puzi and Abdul Latif Romly – broke world records in the 100m T36 and long jump F20 respectively in the Games.
While Dr Mahathir congratulated Malaysia’s medal winning athletes, he lamented the state of the country’s football team which is currently ranked 171 out of 211 countries by Fifa, the international governing body of association football.
He said Malaysia was at one point an Asian football powerhouse.
“The Japanese and Koreans were not good at football like us. We played football wearing boots while they were barefooted.
“But now, the ones who used to be barefoot are able to contest in World Cup. Malaysia cannot even qualify.
“I believe Malaysians can do it if they just put in the effort. If you want to be a scorer in a football team, play and practise a lot.
“Believe me, we will obtain the proficiency and one day, Malaysia’s football team will qualify for the World Cup.”
After Dr Mahathir’s speech, Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman created a stir when he glided along a zip line or Flying Fox over the audience to the side of the stage while carrying the National Sports Day flag.
He then presented Dr Mahathir with the flag.
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