Special scheme to prepare athletes for Athens Olympic Games

KUALA LUMPUR: The Youth and Sports Ministry and the National Sports Council (NSC) will create a special programme to prepare athletes for sports which could contribute medals to Malaysia in next year’s Athens Olympic Games. 

Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Hishammuddin Tun Hussein said the year-long programme would focus on the overall preparations of athletes to compete at Olympic-level. 

“The Ministry will discuss with the NSC and the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) to determine the sports to be included in the programme,” he said after launching 100PLUS POWER, a new product by F&N Coca-Cola (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd here yesterday. 

“Actually, we have discussed ways not only to win medals but to achieve our first Olympic gold medal and several sports have been identified.” 

Among them are badminton, hockey and swimming, he added. 

The Minister said the programme would include training in sports science, including diet as well as mental and physical preparations. 

The athletes' performance, he added, would be monitored from time to time, including at the Vietnam SEA Games in December. 

Hishammuddin also called on sponsors to come forward to support their development programmes and thanked F&N Coca-Cola for extending their partnership with the NSC for another three years. 

He also gave an assurance that athletes who excelled in their sports would continue to be compensated for their efforts and sacrifices for the country. 

The Minister said they were in the process of coming up with a better long-term incentive scheme that would enable athletes to receive financial aid when they retire from their respective sports. 

NSC director general Datuk Mazlan Ahmad said emphasis for the Athens Olympic preparation would not just focus on centralised trainings and camps but also on the right kind of approach with the participation from all parties concerned. 

“It is not going to be just the associations and their coaches who will be working with the athletes. It’s not Misbun (Sidek) or (Yap) Kim Hock alone preparing the badminton players. They will have to work closely with us too. And we will provide whatever assistance possible from our side,” said Mazlan. 

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