KUALA LUMPUR: Ng Ping Loong, the sports marketing face of Milo who called it a day after 35 years in the industry, wishes to see a vibrant sports culture in the country.
For without it, Ping Loong said the nation will find it hard to produce sporting superstars.
“If there is a sporting culture in the community, only then the nation can hope to produce champions, ” said Ping Loong.
“There are small countries like Finland and Norway who have been successful in building good sports culture and we can learn from them.
“My wish is that the government will continue to see sports as an important tool in nation building.
“From my experience all these years, sports teach a lot about character building and you learn things you will not find in textbooks.
“We cannot neglect the development part or we will not have top athletes to count on in the future.”
Ping Loong said if more focus were given at the grassroots, there would have been able replacements for former world No. 1s – shuttler Lee Chong Wei and squash player Nicol David
“We can feel the void left after top athletes like Lee Chong Wei and Nicol David retired last year, ” said Ping Loong, who was feted in a special farewell ceremony yesterday.
And his advice to the new generation of athletes is straightforward: “Be open minded to try new things and be humble.”
“Getting the baby steps right is very important as all these count towards them getting to the top, ” added the avid golfer.
Meanwhile, a big celebration was thrown for Ping Loong at a restaurant in Kuala Lumpur.
He was welcomed by his staff and old friends with a wonderful retirement party that was hosted by Milo.
“I am very happy to see all of my old friends and even the new ones that I have made over the years, ” said Ping Loong.
Ping Loong took over the post from Datuk Dina Rizal in 2004 and helped kick-start the “Milo Hidup Bola” in 2006.
This event grew to become Malaysia’s largest annual futsal carnival, attracting over 12,000 players (under-12 and under-16) every year.
It has also helped to discover young sporting talents, many of whom went on to compete at international tournaments and later became national players.
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