KUCHING: Malaysia needs to put in place a succession plan of athletes in order to shine in regional and global sports meets like the SEA, Commonwealth and Olympic Games.
In pointing this out yesterday, Assistant Minister of Youth and Sports Snowdan Lawan gave the examples of the nation’s top shuttler and diver.
“In badminton, we have Datuk Lee Chong Wei but who else after him? Likewise, our diving queen Pandelela Rinong, who else after her?
“We are unlike China that has a lot of stand-by athletes, one after another. This is the kind of continuity that we want for Malaysia,” he said when closing the 5th Sarawak-Japan Friendship Judo Training Camp at Chung Hua Middle School No.1 here.
Over 100 students and children participated in the three-day camp organised by the Sarawak Judo Association.
Snowdan called upon young Sarawakians to pursue by all means if they were interested in a sport.
He also explained why it is high time for the state to organise Sukan Sarawak (Suksa) on a regular basis to unearth more talents in various sports.
He noted that Suksa had been absent for 27 years while other states such as Selangor, Terengganu and Johor have been organising their repective state-level sport meets every year.
Suksa, he believes, will recognise new talents who could be further trained to become full-fledged athletes to seek glory in not just Sukma but also regional and global sports competitions.
“We need more people to represent us. In order to see athletes follow in succession line, we need to groom people. The government, national Sports Council of Malaysia (SSM) and state Sports Council will play its role towards this end.”
Snowdan said he would carry on his state-wide visits to meet officers of various sports with an aim of figuring out problems faced by them.
“To assist them to do better, we must first find out the root of the problems,” he asserted.
The assistant minister also reiterated the commitment for Sarawak to excel in Sukma.
“We aim to be the champion of the next Sukma to be hosted by Perak,” he said.