KUALA LUMPUR: Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin is hoping for a bigger budget for sports next year.
This, he said, is because the ministry aimed to focus on talent identification and development programmes for all sports in a bid to produce top-class athletes.
“The talent programme is for children who are seven years old as we seek to continue producing athletes for the future.
“To start the programme, we need a big sum of money. I hope the Budget (to be announced on Friday) will allocate a big amount (for sports),” said Khairy, who explained the need to start the programme following the failures of national athletes in meeting the “low” targets set for the Glasgow Commonwealth Games and Incheon Asian Games.
At the Commonwealths, the athletes returned with six gold medals – one short of the target. In the Asiad, they were three short of the eight-gold target.
In Incheon, Malaysia won five golds – two each from squash and karate and one from sailing.
“The standard of certain sports, like athletics and swimming, which offer a lot of medals, has dropped drastically.
“We tend to do well in diving at the cost of swimming,” said Khairy.
“We also need to work closely with the Malaysian Athletics Federation (MAF) and also the Amateur Swimming Union of Malaysia (Asum) to help them in talent identification and development programme.
“We will get experts from the Western Australian Institute of Sports (WAIS) to help us in the talent identification and development programme.”
Australia have a good sports development programme and a number of world class athletes in almost every field.
Khairy said that the National Sports Council (NSC) and National Sports Institute (NSI) will continue to play a big role in the programme in terms of finance and sport science.
Asked if Datuk Seri Zolkples Embong will remain as the NSC director general after the Asiad flop, Khairy said he would make an announcement later.
Khairy also confirmed that he would also announce the fate of the Malaysian National Cycling Federation (MNCF) next week.
The MNCF are facing suspension by the Sports Commissioner after the Youth and Sports Ministry found irregularities in their expenditures.