Tunku Imran: Work on improving mental strength of our athletes

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian athletes lack the mental strength to win in competitions.

Former Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) president Tunku Tan Sri Imran Tuanku Jaafar (pic) said this was evident in the recent Asian Games in Indonesia.

Tunku Imran highlighted the performances of the women’s squash and men’s hockey teams.

“One of the area we all know and recognise over the years about the Malaysian athletes is the lack of mental toughness. This issue needs to be rectified,” said Tunku Imran.

“Our women’s squash team were the defending champions and they were ranked higher than Indian players.

“They should not have lost (2-0) in the semi-finals. I would have expected the women’s team to be mentally stronger.

“The men’s hockey team had a comfortable (5-2) lead against Japan in the final but the team suffered a meltdown in the end and they eventually lost the match due to lack of mental strength.

“You wouldn’t often see this lack of mental strength in athletes from other countries.

“Malaysian athletes are good in terms of their skills but we need the edge in mental preparation to achieve desirable results.

“I believe that we need to start mental training for our athletes from a younger age so that they will be ready to handle tough situations in the future,” said Tunku Imran, who is the patron of the Malaysian Cricket Association (MCA).

Yesterday, MCA took a stand against corruption by having players, coaches and officials sign an integrity pledge in Bandar Kinrara.

The anti-corruption oath, a pledge signing and the launch of the International Cricket Council’s integrity mobile application are steps towards ensuring Malaysia cricket are free from match-fixing scandals, which have plagued the sport globally.

MCA president Mahinda Vallipuram said while Malaysian cricket is free from any form of scandal, the association should not rest on their laurels and assume nothing would happen.

“We can’t deny that corruption is happening in sports and I believe, as administrators, we need to take the first step to create awareness. We need to educate the national team, state affiliates and clubs on this matter,” said Mahinda.

“Hopefully, by working with the Education Ministry, we can create awareness campaigns for children from the age of eight. We want Malaysia to become a cricket hub – safe from negative influence.

“I’ve not heard of it (match-fixing) here but we want to ensure our players stay away from it.”

Tunku Imran , Athletes