Najib wants Malaysia to become a sports powerhouse

One for the album: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak posing for a photograph with the athletes at the Axiata Arena in Bukit Jalil last night. — SHAARI CHEMAT/The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak wants Malaysia to become powerhouse in sports.

“Malaysia has to build on its success in the Kuala Lumpur SEA Games and also the Asean Para Games.

“The Key Performance Index (KIP) for Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin is to make Malaysia a sport powerhouse,” said Najib before handing out incentives to athletes at the Axiata Arena in Bukit Jalil last night for winning 144 golds, 92 silvers and 86 bronzes in the KL SEA Games in August and 90 golds, 85 silvers and 84 bronzes in the Asean Para Games in September.

Malaysia emerged overall champions for the second time in the SEA Games. In the Asean Para Games, Malaysia finished second to overall champions Indonesia (126-75-50).

Najib said that Malaysia should maintain the momentum and produce more top-level athletes.

“It was really inspiring to note that 27.3% of the athletes who won medals at the KL SEA Games were below 21 years old.

“It shows that we have many young, talented athletes who can be groomed into world champions,” he said, adding that there were five ingredients that each athlete should focus on to further improve his or her sporting talents.

“The first important ingredient is technique, second is physical strength, third is nutrition, fourth is mental strength and fifth is health.

“These are important ingredients that they must focus on if they hope to scale greater heights.

“We also have the best stadiums at the KL Sports City.

“During the Budget last week, the government has pumped RM1bil into sports. And this is the biggest amount ever for sports.

“We will build 14 more sports schools to produce more talented athletes.

“(A total of) RM20mil will be used to upgrade the Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS). I am overall happy with our athletes’ achievements in the KL SEA Games and also Asean Para Games. And a million thanks to the athletes,” added Najib, whose wife Datuk Seri Rosman Mansur was also present at the function.

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