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The long-awaited pension scheme for the national athletes, which was announced by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak yesterday, was greeted with delight by the Malaysian sports fraternity.
The 138 athletes from 18 sports under the 2006 Gemilang Project for the Doha Asian Games will be given special attention by the National Sports Council (NSC).
The flak has stopped but Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Azalina Othman Said, the 'rose among the thorns', has her work cut out. She talks to RAJES PAUL on her grand plans, like infusing a winning mentality in athletes and getting the masses involved in sports.
Kelantan's Hamzah, Machang played their first game yesterday and in winning the match led four other teams, including defending champions Anderson of Perak, into the quarter-finals of the Champions Schools hockey tournament at the Seremban II Hockey Stadium.
Malaysian sports received a shot in the arm when the government decided to fund eight sports to achieve excellence at the world stage. But with the huge commitment comes great expectations.
The FA of Malaysia (FAM) are one of the most expensive associations to run. They need RM30 million annually to fund their domestic leagues as well as to cater for the needs of the various age-group national teams for international stints and preparations.
With the financial burden finally lifted off their shoulders, the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) will retrieve their shelved plans to set Malaysia on the road to win honours consistently on the world stage.
The eight sports associations picked yesterday by the Cabinet Committee for the Development of Sports to get full financial aid gave the thumbs up to the government for their initiative.