Siti Hasmah: Joint effort needed to produce top athletes


BY AFTAR SINGH

KUALA LUMPUR: Giving too much incentives and monetary rewards to athletes is not the solution to producing the world class athletes. 

Instead, Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali, who is known as the “Mother of Malaysian Sports’’ said to produce top class athletes, there must be joint effort by all ministries like Sports, Education, Health and the Prime Minister’s Department to help improve the standard of sports in the country.  

“We failed to win medals in the past two Olympics because there was a lack in co-ordination,” said Tun Dr Siti Hasmah after launching the Commemorative Milo “Tribute to Champions’’ programme at the National Aquatic Centre in Bukit Jalil yesterday.  

“After we won the Thomas Cup title in Kuala Lumpur in 1992, we wanted to build 1,001 badminton courts in every town in Malaysia to produce more players. However, the idea did not get off due to the recession.  

“But we still manage to win a bronze medal in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics through Rashid (Sidek) in the men’s singles event,’’ said Dr Siti Hasmah, who is the wife of former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed.  

“We are only good enough to win medals at the Commonwealth, Asian and SEA Games level.  

“I also support the idea of the Sport Minister Datuk Azalina (Saad) to build sports academies in very state to unearth new talents.  

“Setting up the sports committee headed by deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib (Abdul Razak) will play an important part to further develop sports in Malaysia.  

“For any country to excel in sports, there are many factors that have to be seriously considered. One of them is to instil the love of sports among the young.  

“We have seen countries like China and those in Eastern Europe, Indonesia and South Korea training their young children and identifying those with potential for further nurturing and development.  

“And we can learn from these countries,’’ said Dr Hasmah, after paying tribute to the three junior athletes who were inducted into the programme yesterday. 

The three are swimmer Daniel Bego, artistic gymnast Nurul Fatiha Abdul Hamid and Shahriman Rusdee, the Junior X Games athlete. 

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