PETALING JAYA: After Malaysia’s marked improvement in two multi-sports Games in 2006, the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) are looking forward to a more challenging year ahead.
While 2007 brings the SEA Games in Korat, much of the attention will be on the next big event – the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.
The OCM are also gearing themselves to play a more proactive role in the preparation of athletes for future multi-sports events.
“As we come to the end of 2006, we in OCM are happy with the achievements of our athletes in the Melbourne Commonwealth Games and the Doha Asian Games,” said OCM president Tunku Imran Tuanku Jaafar in his year-end statement yesterday.
“The results definitely show an all-round improvement in terms of the increase in the number of medals won and the increase in the number of sports that won medals,” he said.
In the Melbourne Games, Malaysia won a total of seven gold medals, 12 silvers and 10 bronze medals to finish in eighth position in the gold medal tally and seventh in the total medals tally. The total of 29 medals was also the highest number of medals won by a Malaysian contingent in a Commonwealth Games.
In Doha, the Malaysian contingent won eight gold medals, 17 silver medals and 17 bronze medals – the highest by a Malaysian contingent in an Asian Games. Malaysia finished in 11th position in terms of gold medals and ninth in terms of total medals won.
“With the Beijing 2006 Olympic Games just a year and seven months away, the focus of OCM, the national sports associations and the National Sports Council will be on the athletes and teams who will be participating in the various qualifying competitions from now until the Games,’ said Tunku Imran, who added that attention and funding would be provided to sports and athletes with realistic chances of qualifying for the 2008 Olympics.
The sports that could be in that category are archery, aquatics, athletics, badminton, cycling, equestrian, gymnastics, hockey (men), sailing, shooting and weightlifting.
Those with an outside chance of qualifying are boxing, hockey (women) and triathlon.
“This funding will come through the various grants that we have, including from the International Olympic Committee (IOC),” said Tunku Imran, who is also an IOC member.
Under the IOC Olympic Solidarity programme, funding is provided to three badminton players – Lee Chong Wei, Chan Chong Ming, Koo Kien Keat – and laser sailor Dr Kevin Lim.
In addition, some funding is provided to Daniel Bego under the IOC Olympic Solidarity Training Grants for Young Athletes, while Kimbely Yap has been awarded a Training Grant by the International Triathlon Union.
OCM will also allocate some funds from their own sources starting next year to complement NSC’s programme for athletes to qualify and achieve good results at the Beijing Olympics.