Olympic dreams

In the old days, Malacca rulers send offerings to the Chinese Emperor, to appease the mighty Chinese.

As the God’s may rule, this summer we will be sending offerings only to the games as we are unlikely to drag anything away in the night from Beijing. The Chinese are still mighty.The Chinese badminton authorities have guaranteed all five available gold medals. Their women are good for their singles and doubles. The mixed doubles opens a small opening. Their only real worry is men’s doubles event. The Koreans might do a grab and run.

It is unlikely we are going to steal a gold. Though I have said repeatedly that Lee Chong Wei is the best Malaysian player I have ever seen play, he will have three Chinese players too many to handle, and likely to falter at some stage.

But there you have it. The reality of Malaysian sports.

The Chinese don’t spend as much money as we do into badminton, and they probably rank it as just another sport, but they get more out of it.

Australia has less people than Malaysia, and they definitely get more out of their sports dollars.

Are Malaysians unlucky, or just useless in global sports?

The numbers speak for themselves. Since our first foray into the Olympics in 1956 in Melbourne we still have not won a gold medal.

Reason?

Genetics, sports model, focus, sports science and sports administration.

Take your pick.

Genetics is not relevant, to a point. Our footballers are smaller despite better nutrition which is fine. The Japs hack it out with the best. And the Chinese are going to whoop American ass on all fronts this summer.

Sports model surely. Which is tied to sports administration. We are hopeless. Because by the time the Dato’ who is the President of the association is done thanking god, then thanking the committee and then thanking those attending, and then finally the cleaning staff – the Chinese, Russians, Americans and Australians would have won something somewhere.

The is so much effort to make politicians who hold symbolic positions important, the real business of sports is an after-thought. And the modelling is built on short term funding. On who is giving money and when they give the money. There are real sports administrators and I pity them. The overall work culture and funding process hurts them.

Sports science. Have we developed a different way of doing things since the S-service in 1982? We are after all a nation quite happy to send a chimp… pardon a man on a Russian rocket and call him a scientist.

The bitching stops

Write a letter to anyone. MPs – Datos’- Ministers- your gardener. Ask them to do something. They probably won’t, but if millions of Malaysians keep nagging them, they might just have to.

Play sports. Ask your school, or ask your children’s schools if they have a sports programme. If they don’t, make them.

It is really rich for any of us to ask people to win gold medals in competitions when they are so few competitors in the country. You need ten thousand people to play each popular sport, in order for enough talent to come through.

Key words- play competitively and receive basic training.

Ask most people in a coffee shop watching football – shouting and screaming like lunatics- and 90% of them would not know the exact rules of offside.

How about that?

We need to play in order for sports to thrive.

In KL and Selangor, for those in the age group of 12-18, probably less than 1000 players play 30 competitive games a year with training. And you ask where is the talent.

A very small group of people are involved in sports and we are getting talent from a limited talent pool.

The sports administration will improve with more people playing sports. People like Sepp Blatter and most sports administrators started as minor sports players. If you play, when you administrate you understand better.

Our sports language will improve and by doing so our ability to affect the policy makers increases exponentially.

Again, the answer is in playing more. You play, make your kids play and make every place you have influence to make sports a way of life.

There is your Olympic Gold

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