KUALA LUMPUR: Recipients of the recent Education Ministry-Malaysian School Sports Council (MSSM)-Milo Sports Awards 2018 share a common belief - that sports is a great teacher.
National squash player Aifa Azman, who won the prestigious Gold Sportsperson Award, said sports has taught her discipline, time management and professionalism.
“It also taught me to lose like a champion,” she quipped, adding that there is no shame in losing as long as we hold our heads up high and never lose sight of our goals.
The Kedah-born squash sensation was recognised for her achievements in winning three British Junior Open titles and three Professional Squash Association (PSA) Tour titles at the age of 16 last year.
She is the second female recipient of the award, after her idol, eight-time world squash champion Nicol David.
“This award is very special to me because it means that I can achieve what my idol already has,” she added.
Sabah’s Eddy Bernard, who aspires to compete in the 2020 Paralympics in Tokyo, learned the meaning of patience and determination from sports.
“The greatest lesson for me is the will to strive and not let your shortcomings get in the way,” added the 18-year-old, who received the Special Education Athlete Award (male) for his achievements at international competitions, the most recent being the long jump gold at the 2018 Asian Para Games Indonesia.
Visually impaired Lalitta Bon Ong, who won the Special Education Athlete Award, believes that sports teaches her discipline, respect for her opponents and the determination to succeed.
“Sports can take you as far as you want to go. In fact, sports helps me improve my mental focus,” added the SMK Syed Sirajuddin Form Four student from Perlis, who was recognised for breaking two national records (100m and 200m) at the 2018 Para Sukma XIX Perak.
Ganesh Raza, who won the Dedicated Teacher Award (male) said he learnt life lessons from sports.
“Win or lose, I have learned to overcome any type of challenge that comes my way. Sports teaches us how to be holistic in dealing with life’s challenges,” said the teacher and counsellor at SMK Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah, Kuala Selangor.
He has been a cross country coach for 19 years and at least 12 students under his tutelage have become national champions at MSSM competitions.
For over 40 years, Milo has played a pivotal role as a partner to MOE and MSSM and Nestlé Products Sdn Bhd (Milo and Milks Business Unit) executive director Kumaran Nowuram hoped to inspire Malaysians to grow with sports.
“We have launched Milo Aktif Negaraku, a platform that unites all our sports programmes such as Milo Hidup Bola, Milo Champions Clinic, Milo Activ Jam Senam Aerobik as well as the partnership with MOE on MSSM and the 1Student 1Sport (1Murid 1Sukan) initiative.
“It is our call to action for Malaysians to keep active and lead a healthy lifestyle,” said Kumaran.
“This year’s recipients have demonstrated extraordinary feats in their endeavours and they truly embody the Milo belief that sports is a great teacher.”