KUALA LUMPUR: The lack of top coaches at the High Performance Training Centre (HPTC) set up by the International Amateur Athletics Federations (IAAF) in Bukit Jalil is one of the reasons Malaysian athletes are staying away.
Malaysian Amateur Athletic Union (MAAU) vice-president Karim Ibrahim made the declaration when clarifying a statement by the IAAF vice-president, Amadeo Francis, who slammed Malaysia for not fully utilising the training centre by having only one athlete to train there.
Amadeo, who was here for a three-day visit, chided the MAAU for having placed just one Malaysian athlete at the centre.
The HPTC, set up to help athletes improve in this region, was shifted from Bangkok to Malaysia in May 2005.
Karim, who is also the MAAU coaching and development committee chairman said: The IAAF promised to send the best sprint and jump coaches to train athletes at the centre. But one of the coaches who was hired to train at the centre was Valeriy (Kazakov) of Russia, whose services was terminated by the NSC (National Sports Council) because of his failure to help our national athletes improve their personal best, said Karim.
The jump coach Victor Kuzin is also from Russia.
Karim said the Malaysian government had funded the accommodation, facilities, sports medicine and other facilities for the regional athletes but the centre is not benefiting the athletes.
Some of the athletes, who was at the centre had returned to their respective countries, saying that the centre failed to help them improve their personal best, said Karim.
Karim added that the HPTC athletes have performed worse than the local athletes, who are not in the training centre.
A Filipino sprinter Ortaliz (Honey), who has a personal best of 11.6 in the 100m before she started training in the centre, surprisingly lost to national pole vaulter Roslinda (Samsu) in the 100m event in the Kuantan Open in 2005.
Besides that there are no progress reports on the athletes training at the centre.
Karim said that only one Malaysian athlete Mohd Latif Nyat, the 2006 Kedah Sukma (Malaysia Games) 100m gold medallist was recommended into the centre but he has opted out because HPTC did not provide him a coach.
With no coach, Latif has asked local coach Harun (Rasheed) to help in training.
Latif was supposed to receive US$1,200 (RM4,200) a month as a scholarship to train at the centre and he did not received his payment for four months from September to December last year, said Karim.
The IAAF cannot blame us (MAAU) for the short comings in the centre as we are not running the centre, said Karim.
Karim added that they would leave it to the Sports Ministry and government to make a decision whether to continue pumping money for HPTC which is not benefiting the athletes at all.