KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia can look forward for a better showing at the Asian Games in Doha in two years' time they are getting plenty of help from the Australians, who finished fourth at the Athens Olympics.
On Sunday, a total of 180 national athletes under the 2006 Doha programme underwent a test conducted by scientists from the Edith Cowan University. The results will be out in a week, identifying the weaknesses and strengths of each athlete.
National coaches and Malaysian sports officials are also attending a three-day seminar conducted by a team of experts from the Western Australian Institute of Sport (WAIS).
The objective is to make available to Malaysia the latest information on sports science for high performance.
More such collaborations are in the works, thanks to the memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the National Sports Council and the Department of Sports and Recreation, Government of Western Australia.
Yesterday, the department's Hallam Pereira, who is also advisor to Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Azalina Othman Said on this partnerships, disclosed the extent of help Malaysia can expect from Australia.
We were in a similar spot like Malaysia once (Malaysia came back empty handed from the Athens Olympic Games in August while Australia also faced failure in the 1976 Games in Montreal). Malaysia can learn a lot from Australian experience. Western Australia has a very good sporting results and the time zone is identical with Malaysia, which makes our dealings very convenient, said Pereira.
For now, our short-term goal is to strengthen the 2006 programme. We cannot find new athletes for the 2006 Games and we will go with what we have.
Our long term plan is to develop sports science knowledge at all levels. The problem in Malaysia with sports science is that it is not going to the smallest clubs. We will also develop volunteerism, sports for disabled and seniors at all corners of Malaysia.
For a start, Pereira said that they would educate the athletes and officials on what they have got to offer.
We are making presentations to show how sports is managed in Australia - every aspect of it. How sports science is vital for coaches, how the coaches need to keep abreast with the development of sports, how to manage the sports, how to sustain the longevity of an athlete and a lots more, he said.
Malaysia will have to pick up whatever is suited to their structure. And depending on the size of Malaysia's request, we will provide assistance.
A blueprint for Malaysian sport is expected to be finalised at least by February next year.
Then, we may send a team of experts to Malaysia on a short- or long-term basis to assist at all levels.
Pereira said they would also train officials to manage the training centres in 519 districts in Malaysia.
One of the best thing that has happened for Malaysian sport is the formation of the Cabinet Committee for the sports development. They (the cabinet committee) have identified 519 districts and agreed to build a training centre at each of the districts.
Malaysia will have to identify the people to be placed at the training centres and we will train them on how to manage the place, said said Pereira.