SYABAS to Datuk Azizulhasni Awang on winning the silver medal in the Keirin event and our badminton doubles pair Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik on winning bronze at the Tokyo Olympics.
Our 30 athletes at the Tokyo Olympics were a product of the 2016 Podium Programme, upon which the government invested millions of ringgit and brought in foreign sports consultants in an effort to get Malaysia’s first Olympic gold medal.
We must admit that we have failed in this. No doubt the Covid-19 pandemic disrupted our preparations, but other countries were affected by it, too.
Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican is now propelling a new programme called National Sports Vision 2030 (VSN 2030), a long-term project specialising in sports that can win gold medals in the next two or three Olympic Games.
The minister is inviting ideas and opinions from sports enthusiast and practitioners in drafting a national sports development policy through face-to-face and virtual engagement sessions, focus group discussions and via the www.vsn2030.my website.
But before looking at the new plan, the minister must study the post-mortem report on our athletes’ performance in Tokyo to find out where we fell short.
One of the weaknesses in our sport development programme is the lack of grassroots talent spotting, which has created a huge deficit in our pool of athletes. We have 57 National Sports Associations (NSA) that should be on the lookout for athletes to be drafted into their programmes, but what are they doing?
The Education Ministry must also be roped in to enable talent spotting to be done at schools.
C. SATHASIVAM SITHERAVELLU