IGNORANCE, they say, is bliss. Is it really? Not in Malaysian sports. Here, ignorance is just that, a lack of knowledge.
Take the case of Nusa Mahsuri shuttler Roslin Hashim. He is bent on suing the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) for leaving him out of the Singapore and Indonesian Opens.
Understandably, he is angry. He loses valuable Olympic ranking points; he misses out on a shot for third spot in the national squad for the World Championships; and he could suffer a drop in the world ranking.
All that eats into the rice bowl of a professional player. And that hurts.
Roslin is out to teach the BAM a lesson. And BAM are eating humble pie, citing human error.
But there’s something Roslin does not know. The BAM accept entries only through the state BAs.
In Roslin’s case, he did not go through the state BA. The BAM have, in fact, bent over backwards for him, allowing a player to directly enter for tournaments through the national body.
For ignoring their own rules, the BAM now face a lawsuit from Roslin.
Roslin has a right to be angry but to go to court? He has other options, though.
The Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) formed the mediation committee two years ago. It is a platform to solve problems faced by athletes.
But no one seems to know much about this committee, either. And it’s supposed to offer its services for free.
There is also the National Sports Council (NSC)’s advisory panel that could have played mediator. That’s little-known, too.
And little knowledge, they also say, is a dangerous thing.
KLRC Bhd’s men's singles shuttler Sairul Amar Ayob should have realised that now. He knew enough to take medication for his acute ankle pain but not enough to fill up a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) form.
For that, he was accused of doping and was suspended from the Malaysian and Korean Opens.
Karate exponent Rayner Kin Siong and gymnast Cheong See Ting have also paid the price for their ignorance on this matter.
Said the World Badminton Federation (BWF) medical commission chairman Dr Gurucharan Singh: “Some 90% out of the doping cases in Malaysia are related to the athletes not making use of the TUE. Our athletes are not using drugs to enhance performances. They need to be educated on this.”
That’s the athletes. Then, there are the officials.
What drove anyone to nominate Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim to challenge the OCM president Tan Sri Tunku Imran Tuanku Ja’afar in the upcoming elections?
The Perlis Mentri Besar is a busy man, heading four sports associations and a state as well. Even if they were unhappy with Tunku Imran, surely there are other sports personalities for the job.
Of course, the million-ringgit High Performance Training Centre in London is another question.
There have been numerous reasons cited why it will not work, not least of which is that local council by-laws would make it very difficult.
Yet, the Sports Ministry is going ahead with plans to use the London base as a training ground. How they want to do that, no one quite knows.
Footnote: “Being ignorant is not so much a shame as being unwilling to learn.” – Benjamin Franklin