Sunday, September 20

Ex-national athletes urged to join state coaching team

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Chua (left) with Ong (centre) and Ng during a courtesy call.

KUCHING: Sarawak Sports Corporation (SSC) chief executive officer Dr Ong Kong Swee wants to see more Sarawakians who are former national athletes join the state coaching team.

He is encouraging all former national and state athletes to return and help produce high calibre athletes to help Sarawak realise its vision and mission to be the nation’s sports powerhouse.

“My vision is to get most of the Sarawak national and former athletes back to Sarawak to be coaches.

“We already have Watson Nyambek (athletics), Sapok Biki (boxing), Edmund Yeo (weightlifting) and Diana Bong (wushu) as coaches for our elite athletes.

“They are our sports icons and can be role models for our athletes and help greatly in the development of sports in Sarawak,” Ong said after meeting former national men’s singles badminton player James Chua Kie How at his office at the Sarawak Stadium yesterday.

Chua was appointed as Elite Centre coach for the Sarawak Sports Corporation’s Badminton Junior Development Programme that is attached to Kuching Badminton Association (KBA).

The 41-year-old, who was ranked world number five in 2003, officially started work on Sept 1.

He is also the only Sarawakian to have attained a world ranking and was the second Sarawakian to have won Sukma men’s singles gold in 1998.

The other Sukma champion was Pei Wee Chung in 1992.

Chua also won the Malaysian Open in 2002.

Meanwhile, KBA president Johnny Ng, who accompanied Chua in the courtesy call, also welcomed Chua’s return to Sarawak to help raise the standard of badminton in the state.

“Chua has committed his time to come back here and he is a role model for Sarawakians,” he said.

“With his vast experience and knowledge, I am very confident that he can develop players who can beat other state players in Sukma and even those from the Badminton Association of Malaysia’s Academy,” he added.