Award winning academician aiming to give local athletes a mental boost

PETALING JAYA: A lecturer of sports psychology from Kelantan, who received a top international award in his field, is hoping to use his expertise to boost the performance of local athletes.

Universiti Sains Malaysia's Assoc Prof Dr Garry Kuan said there was a need to promote better mental health among local athletes, as about 40% of them experience psychological issues, with the most common being anxiety and depression.

"Almost half of them face such issues, and this is why we need to help them adopt the right mindset especially on the day they have to compete," said Dr Kuan, who is the founder and current secretary-general of the Malaysian Sport Psychology Association.

"My plans are to promote sports psychology practices to all athletes starting at the grassroots and up to the level of national sportsmen and women," he said, adding that he aimed to work with the Youth and Sports Ministry in such efforts.

Dr Kuan, 40, said this when met at the Ten Outstanding Young Malaysian (TOYM) Awards ceremony held at a hotel here this evening (Dec 4).

He was named as among the TOYM, comprising accomplished individuals from various fields including the business and economic sector, environmental leadership and medical innovation.

The programme, held by the Junior Chamber International Malaysia (JCIM), aims to recognise 10 Malaysians aged between 18 and 40 who exemplify the best attributes of the country’s young people.

Recipients of the TOYM will be given the opportunity to represent Malaysia in the Junior Chamber International’s (JCI) Ten Outstanding Young Persons of the World (TOYP) Awards against 122 other countries. The event will take place at JCI’s Annual World Congress.

JCI is a non-profit organisation of people aged 18 to 40 who are engaged and committed to creating impact in their communities.

Recently, Dr Kuan was also named as one of the International Society of Sports Psychology’s developing scholar award winners for 2021, in acknowledgement of his contributions to excellence in research.

He said sports psychology still has a lot of room to grow in Malaysia and can influence the performance of an athlete significantly.

"During training, 90% of the performance of athletes is dependent on their physical skills and while 10% is on their mindset.

"But on the day of the competition, it is the other way round with 90% reliant on their state of mind and 10% from the strength of their training.

"With proper sports psychology practices and application, we can take our local athletes to scale greater heights and achievements," he said.

In his speech read out at the event, Selangor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Amirudin Shari said the awards showcased exceptional individuals from their respective sectors.

"I sincerely hope and that your achievements will inspire other participants and youths in the country," he said.

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