Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Nor Azimah to shine again

Pahang born Nor Azimah Mat Resad is once again Malaysia's hope for winning a medal at the 18th Vietnam International Judo Tournament to be held at the Phan Dinh Phung Indoor Stadium in Ho Chi Minh City from 2-5 July 2009.
Malaysia will be represented by a team of seven male and three female athletes to this annual international meet. The team would be led by manager, Thevaraj Kasivisvanathan and Mongolian coach, Maralgerel Darmbiinyam.
Last year Malaysia won one silver through Nor Azimah in the 45kg and a bronze from Nik Norbaizura Nik Azman (57kg). Nor Azimah, 25, won quite easily and she is expected to do well again this year.
This time around the competition is expected to be tough with most of teams, including China, would be sending their best exponents.
Previously, Vietnam hosts this international tournament held together with the South East Asia (SEA) Championship, which is a competition among the South East Asian nations. This time around the Vietnamese are only organizing the international event.
Last year, Malaysia won one gold, 8 silver and 2 bronze in the SEA Championship. The gold was won by national champion, Chong Wai Keat in the below 81kg.
The team will leave on Thursday morning.
The squad:
Men - Mohd Fakhrul Izaat Afandi (66kg), Marjan Abdullah (73kg), Chong Wai Keat (81kg), Jihad Syamin Johari (55kg), Syaiful Rizal Ahmad Zaidi (100kg).
Women - Nor Azimah Mat Resad (45kg), Nik Norbaizura Nik Azman (57kg) and Noor Maizura Zainon (48kg) .

Friday, June 26, 2009

Hitting the road - 2

The termination of service letter was a surprise to me. I never received a letter of appointment and every month I sign an invoice which states that I was getting an Honorarium. The only letter I got (before the take notice and take further notice one) was sometime last year, informing of a RM200 increment and that my working hours are 8.30am to 12.30pm ! If any of you have been wondering why I am not in office when sports journalists start work, its because I was following instructions.
In this second part, I want to write about my experiences, which would be an educational piece, suitable to help those who are feeling their way around in sport, and possibly sports journalism. A very old man suggested that this writings are "vengeance". Not so, old chap, because vengeance belongs to God.
Many have asked me to write about the decision and that it was not a board meeting, but an office bearers meeting and also that no such decision was made. However, all those would be a waste of precious time.
I believe the OCM President, Tunku Imran Tuanku Jaffar had noting to do with it because he is a gentleman, a good and generous person. He likes to help people and had given me assistance in my time of need. In fact, the reason I came to OCM to help in Media matters was that around 2005, many had concluded that Tunku was a failure as OCM's boss. His promises of being a hands-on leader finally fizzled out simply because he couldn't put his hands on anything.
I tried my best but most of my proposals were brushed aside, and I became used to hearing the term "all these are waste of time". Even if there was a decision which has to be implemented, I often hear the magic words "hang them" ("them" meaning those who made the decision, whoever they may be).
In the many years that I was in OCM, I learned many things about the way things are run in different sport organizations. And, here I would like to share some of the things which I have learned, so that it may help others to understand sports in Malaysia. So, just read and be happy.
There is no policy or guide that helps sports bodies. I discovered that the only "policy" that sometimes seem to be exist is what I call the "SAMAN" Policy. It stands for sabotage and manipulate, or its medical term S1M1. This problem is not found in all association, only a few.
There has to be a medical term because this unwritten and unofficial policy has got to do with the emotions, thinkings and desires of the human.
(Please take notice that the terms are mine. And take further notice that you can use it. And further than that notice, you can use it as many times as you want!)
Once, a group of dedicated people proposed the publication of a quarterly bulletin to inform the public, media and sponsors about the happenings of a particular organization. But it was shot down and the excuse given was that a journal would be better. I too thought that was good, but later I was informed that was the S.O.P (standard operation procedure) to stop the bulletin. Apparently, this had happen at least four time before. Therefore, I learned that to shoot down a proposal, bring another proposal and finally make sure neither would see the daylight. Interesting.
But, why would you want to sabotage a good proposal like that. Well, the answer is because "if I don't have ideas, nobody should have ideas". No wonder, my proposals never saw daylight.
I also found out that you can portray an image of a person calling a spade a spade but when asked to explain, you can play the joker. Mind you, this need exceptional skill and practice.
In sport, possibly under the unwritten "SAMAN" policy, you must learn to deflect blame to other parties and subsequently tarnish that person or persons reputation.
For example, if a meeting was informed that a certain matter would be brought up at another forum, and you know your delegation is not going to do anything about it, find someone who is attending, even though he or she may be representing another body, and attending for another purpose.
Just tell everyone that, the person who is actually not your delegation is not doing the job.
By the time an explanation is given, the damage would have been done. I never knew that this could be done.
I personally heard of an another official who often loudly criticizes a certain head of a group of former athletes for not doing anything for his members. But the reality is that everything he planned to do was sabotaged but the members don't know and he gets the blame and is made to look bad. This guy sure deserves the "olympianism" award.
Staff members at different associations tell me of the problems they face, having to work in an environment where spies are planted.
I also know of some people who likes to give advises to associations and most of them time these advises lands them in trouble with the authorities.
There a many more to write about to educate the public and also the people who are contemplating a career in sports. But, for now, I think this should do and I hope you are enriched by the contents.
I would like to suggest that as part of the training, a new sportswriter should be attached with the National Sports Council (NSC) for a week, a sports body for tow weeks and OCM for a month. NSC is very transparent.
Also, since the S1M1 has become an epidemic, I would like to suggest that all those who want to hold office should go for a psychological evaluation and only declared fit should be allowed to contest. This way we can keep the bad attitude people out.
We have to protect our national sporting image because some of these people go all over the place and teach others about transparency, management and other stuffs but their own organizations lacks all that.
Because of the outbreak of S1M1, we see coaches, players and managers being blamed each time there is a failure. Let me tell you these, the biggest problem in sport today are not coaches, athletes and technical officials, but those who sit (or hide?) in offices.
I am happy to have known and worked for some great sports leaders in the Olympic circle, leaders like Tunku Imran, Prof Datuk Zakaria Ahmad, Ms Low Beng Choo, Prof Datuk Ar. W.Y.Chin, Dato' Seri Kee Yong Wee, Mr Rosmanizam Abdullah, Mr. Ramlay Ibrahim and others. Sports need people like you and I would certainly help you, should you need my assistance.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Hitting the road - 1

As many are aware, I will be hitting the road soon. A badly written letter stated that my last day would be 15th July 2009. The following are the contents of the letter, dated 15th June 2009.

"The OCM Executive Board Meeting on 9th June 2009 decided that your services are no longer required by the OCM.
"Take notice therefore, that your last date of employment would be 15th July 2009.
"Take further notice that in view of your termination of employment, the OCM is prepared to make an immediate payment of one (1) month allowance of RM2,200.00 (Ringgit Malaysia Two Thousand and Two Hundred only) to you provided you choose to leave by 18th June 2008 at the latest whence that would be regarded your last date of employment. You would be paid a proportionate allowance for the eighteen (18) days for June 2009.
"You are required to hand over to the Secretary General (? ) of OCM, all properties of OCM presently in your procession (sic) including the office keys on your last day of employment."

(Signed by Dato' Roy Rajasingham)

Well, this letter made by day, and my week, and I am still smiling. And I would like to thank those behind this letter. The "post man" who handed me this letter said, "sorry it had to end this way". Well, its not the end, just the beginning of a new chapter for me, in sports.
Yes, as the tittle suggest, this is just the first positing on this matter. I will be writing another one soon, and possibly a third one, which might interest many people.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Unity talks in Cycling

Political parties are currently busy talking about unity talks, a move that may be good for our nation. But, there is also a "unity talk" taking place in sports and, if things work out as planned, some interesting developments should take place soon.
The planned unity talk is in cycling and some veteran officials are behind the move which they hope would heal the wounds of 1988. In that year, a group of officials led by Datuk Darshan Singh Gill (now Tan Sri) from Perak took control of the Malaysian National Cycling Federation (MNCF) by ousting the incumbent, Tan Sri Elyas Omar and his team.
That incident caused many things to happen, including the federation itself changing its name twice. The 1988 election also saw a rift between many states and officials and these effected the growth of the sport in many of the states. Plenty of time and effort were spent in the politicking that followed. Even the constitution was amended a couple of time to prevent "outsiders" from coming in.
But now, many feel that it is time to heal the wounds and thus the idea of unity talks. Plans are being drawn to replace some officials and bring back some veteran and, at the same time, bringing in some new faces. There are also plans to bring back former secretary, Shahruddin Jafar (picture above), who held the post in the 1970s and gave up for a while before making a come back again in 1988.
Shahruddin is also the first Malaysian to have won a gold medal in the SEAP Games.
Part of the plans in this "unity attack" is to replace Deputy President, Datuk Naim Mohamed (picture below). Recently Naim was booted out from the Malacca Cycling Association.
Many are not happy with the fact that the President (Haji Abu Samah Abdul Wahab) and Naim are from Malacca, a state which has not produced any rider of caliber. They are willing to let Haji Abu Samah stay on but not Naim. However, this would not be an easy tasks, with Naim having the support of Maniam Manickam from Perlis.
Some affiliates feel that Datuk Ahmad Sidi from Terengganu should take over as the Deputy President. Terengganu is riding high at the moment with their cyclist, Azizul Hasni Awang having performed well at the Olympics and other International tournaments.
Affiliates are also not happy with the way the Tour de Langkawi was
organized. The talk within the cycling circle is that many debts have not been settled and the officers concerned seem to have switched off their hand phones. This has caused many to be upset and have made up the mind to bring about a change.
Besides the Deputy Presidents post, there is expected to be some contest for the four Vice Presidents posts, with some saying that Shahruddin coming in would bring the past and present to work together in unity for the sake of cycling. There are two Vice Presidents now - Maniam Manickam and Raijas Anang.
The previous Sports Commisioner, Tan Sri Elyas Omar ruled that the other two who were elected, Dato' Yusuf Herman Shah and Supt Khalid Kadir, could not hold office due to technical errors in their nominations.
The MNCF Annual General Meeting (AGM) was supposed to be in June 2009, but could not be held because of investigations by the Anti Corruption Agency into their 2007 accounts. The accounts have just been returned to MNCF and once the 2008 accounts are ready the national cycling body will call for its AGM, which would most likely be towards the end of the year.
This is good news for those involved in the unity talks, because they need the time to clean the wounds.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

The Transformation of sports in schools

Schools are expected to play a major role, once again, in the development of sports in Malaysia. In fact, going by what is being planned, many are expecting a sporting revival to hit the schools soon. This revival is expected to cause a massive transformation of sports in this country.
Led by none other than the Deputy Prime Minister YAB Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin who is the Education Minister, sports at school is expected to undergo changes which will have long lasting impact on the sporting structure in our nation.
Muhyiddin was Youth and Sports Minister from 1995-99 and during his term, he served with passion and commitment. He knows that for sports to flourish, the system at schools need to be strengthen.
While many of the program are yet to be announced, the Ministry through the Malaysian Schools Sports Council (MSSM) has already embarked on a plan to having coaching, technical and umpiring/ refereeing courses for teachers.

Muhyiddin chatting withMohamed Akmal Nazari at the launch of the TSM Golf Challenge on Friday.

It is reliably learned that the changes in store include the scheduling of events, the time allocated for sports, fundings and also sports being used to fill the after school time. This will enable the young one to make full use of their energy, strength and develop their talents in sports.
Sports is expected to be made compulsory for all students and achievements will be taken into account when apply for scholarships and entrance into varsities.
But the most exciting aspect of this would be the re-emergence of teachers in the sports scene. Previously, teachers played an important role in producing top national athletes, in addition to popularizing certain sports in the districts they work in.
Malaysian sports history should acknowledge the contributions of these teachers. Some of them include:
Athletics: Renny Martin (Selangor) and C. Ramanathan (Penang)
Basketball: Tan See Wah (Pahang)
Cricket: Raja Kulasingam (Johor)
Football: Allahyarham Datuk Syed Ahmad Kuning (Kelantan), Haji Ahmad Shafie and Datuk Seri Paul Mony Samuel (Kedah), Mohamed Bakar (Penang) and Windsor John Paul (Terengganu).
Hockey: The late Datuk Ho Koh Chye (NS), M.P. Haridas (Malacca), Brian Fernando (Perak), K. Indran (Johor), Vincent Fernandez (KL).
There are many more of them and in many other sports as well. Soon we will see more teachers becoming coaches, umpires and referees, technical officials and hopefully administrators. There are teachers such as badminton's Shuaib Kassa, who managed sports at school level before going on to be excellent administrators at National Sports Association's.
It is hoped that through this sport renewal the many weaknesses of the system can also be rectified. In my school days in Batu Pahat, Johor many drop out of sport because of bad selection practices.
In the late seventies, say a U-15 football team of a school, representing a district, say Batu Pahat, emerged as state champions, chances are none of their players would be selected to represent the state at MSSM. The reason given was the difficulty to get the players for centralized training. The good ones are not selected and they finally give up. I just hope things have changed since then.
I also hope that this revival of sports in schools would also bring back the sporting culture at the districts. Batu Pahat had a strong sports culture. Every evening the hock pitch and the stadium and all other places available for sports would be full of activities.
The district produced some excellent athletes. Among them M. Solaimuthu and Sukvinder Singh (athletics), Sarjit Singh and Harbinder Singh (hockey), M. Kumaresan (cycling) and a little bit out of town came stars like Abdul Malek Noor (body building) and his brother Salleh Mohd Noor (soccer).
I would like so suggest that MSSM focuses on Rugby Sevens instead of the 15 player game. This is because our future is in the sevens' which is expected to be included in the 2016 Olympic program. Our national team is also performing well in the international sevens' meets.
Rugby is hugely popular in schools, and having the sevens would be a good way of having a solid base of national selectors. I enjoyed playing Rugby during my school days.
Well, lets hope things improve from now on and those who are an hindrance to improvement should move aside.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

"Pierre de Coubertin of Asia"

Chua Ah Tok (left) with IOA's Isidoros Kouvelos. He is well respected by the people in IOA

He is the "Pierre de Coubertin of Asia". Chua Ah Tok, the academician who is very popular in the sports circle, was given that "title" by some directors of International Olympic Academy (IOA) for his active participation and contribution to the education side of the Olympic movement.
Ah Tok, 64, has been the Director of National Olympic Academy (NOA) Malaysia since 1994 and has helped Thailand and Cambodia set up their respective academies. Now he is in the process of setting up the NOA in Nepal.
Frenchman, Pierre de Coubertin mooted the idea to form an educational wing for the Olympic movement and this was approved at in 1949, three years after his death, and finally inaugurated on 14 Jun 1961. As of now, 140 countries have formed their own NOA's, with Malaysia having one of the most active academy in this part of the world.
Ah Tok graduated with a Master of Science degree in Education and Sports Administration from the University of New Mexico, USA. He was the Director of Sports and Lecturer of the Faculty of Education, University of Malaya (UM) for more than 20 years. He retired in 1999.
He has been a teacher, lecturer and administrator in elementary and secondary schools, Colleges and University for more than 40 years. He was also instrumental in establishing the Sports Center at UM, which became he first varsity to offer the Bachelor of Sports Science Degree in Malaysia.
After retiring from UM, he was appointed as Registrar, Office of Admissions and Records, Nilai University College in Negeri Sembilan.
The NOA of Malaysia, under the leadership of Ah Tok, has conducted 12 NOA Sessions without a break and the international body acknowledges the Malaysian Sessions are among the best and attended by participants from more than 25 countries.
As NOA Director, he initiated the Nilai University College-OCM Scholarship program, a move to enable former and current national athletes to pursue tertiary education leading to Diplomas and Degrees.
He is now a member of the prestigious International Pierre De Coubertin Committee, which is based in Lausanne, Switzerland.

As Chef-De-Mission to the Commonwealth Youth Games in India

Ah Tok is currently the Deputy President of Softball Association of Malaysia (SAM) and served as a member of the Football Association of Malaysia's Vetting Committee.
With this credential, Ah Tok would certainly be the best choice to lead the NOA Malaysia again, for now. However, the sports fraternity is buzzing with rumors that there are attempts to replace him with a below 50 year old candidate, a move that is puzzling because for an academic post, the criteria has always been "the older the better".
And, even if there are "succession plans" for replacing older officials, then the process should start from the oldest downward or from the highest down, a process many of us know l as leadership by example.
Officials are saying that a suggestion to that effect was made during a recent Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) meeting of elected office bearers. However there has been no official statement yet, said an official who contacted me.
The only conclusion one can make, said the official, is that Ah Tok is being made a scapegoat for the little waves that was felt during the recent elections.
"If this is how certain people react to waves, I wonder what they will do if they know of a coming tsunami next time around," said the official.
In the meantime Ah Tok is hoping that common sense will prevail and the desire to maintain status quo will be applicable to the post of National NOA Director also.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Hotel MABA ?

MABA House in Jalan Hang Jebat

Tough times require tough decisions. In an effort to be self reliant and have a strong financial standing, the Malaysian Basketball Association (MABA) is said to be seriously considering some proposals to convert its 12-floor hostel cum office building into a budget Hotel.
Word has it that the national body might only be using the Mezanine Floor as it office space while another floor would probably be turned into a dormitory for national players.
However, the MABA/DBKL Stadium and the multi-level car park, which is next door, is expected to remain for the time being. There are two levels of dormitories on top of the car park.
The MABA House, located at Jalan Hang Jebat in Kuala Lumpur, was completed in May 1971 and it has hostel facilities for officials and players, a canteen, library and conference hall for basketball fraternities, as well as a venue for clinics and training seminars.
Its launching in 1970 was mainly due to the efforts of the late Tan Sri Khaw Kai Boh, a former President of MABA, Asian Basketball Confederation (ABC) and Vice President of the world body, FIBA.
The building also houses the ABC Secretariat. The late Mr. Lum Mun Chak was Secretary General of ABC from 1983-1991 and Mr. Yeoh Choo Hock (now Dato') was his Technical Assistant.
The proposal to convert MABA House into a hotel is not new. The idea was first mooted by Dato' Loke Yuen Yow, who was the President in the 1990s. But it didn't work out.
But now, the tops brass of MABA is said to be keen to move ahead with this project, which is still in the discussion stage. If things work out, the hotel might be completed by the end of next year.
MABA wants to have a strong financial standing so that its programs can be carried out effectively. And, MABA also sees the importance of the affiliates receiving proper funding. This national body knows that it exists because of the affiliates, unlike some sports bodies who only think about themselves.
MABA officials, when contacted, avoided any comments about this project.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

What is OCM's role, asks MAAU

The Malaysian Amateur Athletic Union (Pend: 0136/98) wants some clear definitions from the International Olympic Committee on the role of Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM).
In a hard-hitting letter, signed by General Manager Sri Murigak Madhavan BK, the MAAU made known its displeasure over OCM's pestering of the National Associations to make payments for team managers who accompany teams to events under the IOC/OCM banner.
"If the entire burden is thrown to the NSA, then what is the role of OCM? You wants us to pay for transport, accommodation, attire and insurance," said the letter addressed to OCM Honorary Secretary, Dato' Sieh Kok Chin with copies to 10 different persons and/or organizations, including the IOC, Minister of Youth And Sports and Asian Athletic Association (AAA).
A copy of the letter, dated 1 June, was made available to this blog by one official.
The MAAU reaction is said to be caused by OCM's letter, asking for RM1,560.00 as expenses for for the team manager to travel with the team to the Singapore Asian Youth Games (28 June - 5 July 2009). The National Sports Council (NSC) had earlier decided that they would not be paying for managers.
"We can't tolerate this all the time. We want the Ministry of (Youth and) Sports to look into this matter. We are officially withdrawing the team manager," added the letter.
This is one of the rare times that MAAU blasts OCM but whether anything comes out of this is left to be seen.
OCM has always had plenty to say during selection to multi sport events but mostly stayed clear of footing any bills. Would things change in the future? Well, we just have to wait and see.
Anyway MAAU Deputy President, Karim Ibrahim and Sieh Kok Chi are close friends.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Rugby Sevens likely to get into Olympics


Rugby sevens is a fashionable choice to be on the shortlist of two sports to join the Olympic Games in 2016 and that is good news for Malaysian Rugby Union.
According to wire services report, the Sevens World Cup at Dubai in March showed what the short-form version of rugby could add to the games, and was apparently admired by observers sent from Olympic headquarters.

Rugby may also have a very important friend on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) executive board, which will hear pitches from the seven bidding sports on Monday.
The meeting in Lausanne is headed by IOC president Jacques Rogge, a regular in the 1970s Belgium rugby team and a passionate follower of the sport.
Rogge will not have a vote on which two of rugby sevens, baseball, golf, karate, roller sports, softball and squash get to join the 26 Summer Olympic sports from 2016 onward.
The board will meet again in August to choose which two sports the full IOC membership vote on at their annual session at Copenhagen in October. That second poll could yet see both sports rejected by the members.
Rugby sevens has come a long way since the International Rugby Board (IRB) launched a world series in 1999.
It is on the Asian and Commonwealth Games programs, and has been added to the Pan American Games and All Africa Games schedules for 2011.
The Sevens World Cup attracted 80,000 spectators over three days of action featuring 24 men's teams and 16 women's. The Olympic proposal is for 12 teams in each gender playing over two days in stadiums shared with other sports.
Sevens was far removed from the established 15-a-side game played by three million in 116 countries, and which featured in four Olympics from 1900 to 1924.
If granted Olympic status, the IRB would scrap the Sevens World Cup and mandate clubs worldwide to release players for the tournament and qualifying events, satisfying an IOC request to bring the sport's best talent to the show.
The bid also expects to score well on a favorite Olympic theme of universality - giving smaller nations a chance to succeed.
The men's semifinals in Dubai featured Argentina, Kenya, Samoa and Wales, the eventual champions, while Fiji and Tonga were also competitive.
Kenya captain Humphrey Kayange will help make the presentation on Monday, joining Cheryl Soon, captain of the Australia women's World Cup winners, and Kazakhstan player Anastassiya Khamova.
If Rugby sevens are included, it would be good news for Malaysia. Our national Sevens have been doing fairly well in international tournament, Last year Malaysia emerged champions in the prestigious Sri Lanka Sevens and our team also put up a good fight to secure sixth spot in the Hong Kong Sevens.
The Malaysian Rugby Union also have been campaigning hard to get the support of Asian countries for the sport's inclusion into the Olympic program. MRU Secretary, Ramesh Lechmanan is the Asian Rugby Union Board (ARFU) committee that has been working overtime to get rugby into the Olympics.
The MRU knows that once the sports receives Olympic status, the interest would increase tremendously. So will sponsorship.
Olympic Council of Malaysia officials will also be in Lausanne for the IOC meeting. President, Tunku Imran Tuanku Ja'afar and Vice President, Dato' A. Sani Karim would be there to fight for squash while another VP, Ms Low Beng Choo for her favorite softball.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Golf's silent war

MALGA has trained many young girls to be excellent players. Here we see a coaching clinic in progress.

The jostling between Malaysian Golf Association (MGA) and Malaysian Ladies Golf Association (MALGA) seems to be heating up with no apparent solution in sight. The "silent war" is causing many to express concern that it may end up damaging the growth of the sport in Malaysia.
Unlike most sports, golf is one sport that has excellent and comfortable facilities as well as different rules for participation in international meet.
The problem between MGA and MALGA began to get serious in the late 1990s. According to some observers, MGA feels that it is the governing body and no other body must overshadow it while MALGA wants to be allowed to do what it is has been doing quite well - developing golf among the ladies.
MGA is a national body registered with the Sports Commissioner (SC) and MALGA is a national body which was among the first three to be registered by SC's office. However, MALGA has been forced to be an invited representative in MGA's meetings with no rights.
"The clubs seem to have more say and rights," said a golf enthusiast, familiar with the happenings.
Those familiar with this issue say that, MGA was upset when MALGA got plenty of publicity and their competitions received much support. Even though the leadership changed a few times, the attitude towards the ladies never changed.
MALGA had 3,000 girls at school level onwards playing golf all over the country. However,
MGA stepped in and from 2006 began to offer contracts to some of the top girls and soon controlled their movements.
In the Jakarta open in May, MALGA entered four players but had to withdraw Kelly Tan because she was on contract with MGA and the national body refused to allow her to participate. This caused MALGA to send Nur Durriyah Damian as a replacement and she apparently did quite well. The other three were Isza Fariza Ismail, Nor Islamiah M. Fuah and Aretha Pan.
In the Queen Sirikhit Tournament in Thailand, both MGA and MALGA send entries but the organizers accepted the ladies' list because MALGA are a member of the tournament.
Recently, MGA organized its first Malaysian Ladies Amateur Open (MLAO) with the final rounds held in Kuching. MALGA has been organizing their own MLAO for the past 25 years and the 26th edition is to be held soon at the Mines Golf and Resort and they have received an overwhelming response from Asia-Pacific countries.
For multi sports games, MGA - and affiliate of Olympic Council of Malaysia - would submit their list and MALGA - an associate member of OCM - would also send in their recommendations and the OCM would normally choose the best.
Golf has a different set of rules for participation in overseas tournament. Players can participate as professionals, through clubs or national bodies which are affiliated to the circuit or tournament. Locally, both MGA and MALGA must get the SC sanction before hosting a meet and bot have been doing so.
This situation is not healthy for golf. MGA should take the lead and maybe form a coordinating committee with MALGA so that golf can continue to be developed. MGA should acknowledge MALGA as an active partner in golf while MALGA should also accept MGA as the main body and work together.
Maybe the SC's office should step in. Or maybe even the National Sport Council (NSC). Either was, something has to be done before this silent and cold war overflows into the international scene.

A great help for coaches

This book, A football Coaching Manual, was a great help to many PE (Physical Education) teachers in the 1970s and 80s. Published by the Kedah Education Department, it was compiled with the sole purpose of providing coaches at youth and other levels with all the information required in coaching and managing a team.
The manual, compiled by Dato' Seri Paul Mony Samuel, deals with various aspects of coaching such as physical fitness, technique, tactics, treatment of injuries and laws of the games.
Former FIFA Coach, Dettmar Cramer played a role in the compilation of this book, mostly during the Third FIFA Coaching Course held in Iran in 1973.
Dato' Seri Paul compiled this book with the intention of helping PE teachers, Youth team and Club coaches. During that time, this book was a great help to young coaches in the northern region. It also was of great assistance to journalist to learn to appreciate the technicalities of the beautiful game.
Nowadays, there are many different and modern approaches to teaching and training coaches and courses are also held at different levels. However, it is always good to have a written manual to refer to when necessary.
It sure would be great if Sports bodies come up with manuals like this for coaches and teachers, who can use some of ts contents when they train their school teams.
Dato' Seri Paul was born on 5th August 1945 in Kuala Ketil, Kedah. He had his early education in St. Theresa's Primary School and later at Sekolah Menengah Ibrahim, both in Sungai Petani, Kedah. He went on to study at the University Putra in Serdang
He served as a teacher in Sekolah Menengah Kuala Ketil from 1965 to 1979 and from 1980 began his career as a football administrator at national and international level. He started as an Assistant Secretary at Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) and then went on to be its Executive Secretary and finally the General Secretary before he resigned and became FIFA's Development Officer in 2000.
He served as the General Secretary of Asian Football Confederation (AFC) for a few years and now is fully focussed on developing football in the Asean region.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Thank You...Terima Kasih

I am really surprised by the responses I got from the sports fraternity. Many were pleased with my decision to start this blog. Officials and athletes who were my friends in my reporting days are now calling to give all kinds of information, comments, tips and stories. Some of the information were shocking and many of it never appeared in any sports pages. Well, all I can say is that I will work on it, get the full story and publish through this blog.
Plenty of scheming going on in Malaysian sports and I will try to publish them once I get some confirmation on some matters.
Anyway, Thank You for your support and I will not publish comments that are personal in nature and of no use for the betterment of sports.

Monday, June 8, 2009

All the best, Subkhidin

For the past five years Subkhidin Haji Mohd Salleh has been among the top three referees in Asia. And, now the 43 year old from Penang, is on the verge of becoming the first ever Malaysian to referee at the World Cup finals.
Subkhidin, has been included in the 38 main referees who are now undergoing the final stages of trainings and briefings as part of their preparations to officiate at the 2010 World Cup finals in South Africa.
The final list of about 28 referees is expected to be announced early next year. Based on his performances, Subkhidin has an excellent opportunity to create football history for Malaysia.
The International Football Federation (FIFA) have shortlisted top referees from each continent into groups of three and in three different categories - main referees, assistant referees and standbys. In Subkhidin group are two assistant referees - one each from Thailand and China - and a standby referee from Singapore.
In the 2006 World Cup, Subkhidin was also in the running and reached the last 42 but failed in the last round.This would also be the last chance for Subkhidin to achieve this feat, because the cut-off age for referees at international level is 45.
Previously, two Malaysian referees made it into the final list but as Assistant Referees. They were Halim Abd Hamid (1998) and Md Lazim Mohd (2002) .
At the last World Cup in Germany, Allahyarham Nazri Abdullah was on duty as one of the Referees Instructors while the other Malaysian representative was Windsor John Paul, the General Coordinator who was in-charge of the important matches, including the finals.
We wish Subkhidin all the best.
Meanwhile, Asia's big three - Japan, South Korea and Australia became the first teams to advance to the 2010
finals. Japan beat Uzbekistan 1-0 in Group One and were the first team through for the cond time in a row, having also set the pace for the 2006 finals in Germany.
South Korea outclassed UAE 2-0 in Group Two and reached the tournament for the seventh successive time. Australia too advances, via the Asian route for the first time, after a goalless draw with Qatar in Doha.

Friday, June 5, 2009

New record for Spain?

European champions Spain are on the verge of a place in FIFA’s record books: should the Iberians avoid defeat in their friendly against Azerbaijan in Baku on 9 June, they will have notched up an unprecedented run of 32 consecutive games without defeat.

Their run began on 7 February 2007 with a 1-0 victory over England at Old Trafford, almost three months after their last defeat, to Romania in Cadiz. Spain currently hold the record with two other teams. Argentina were unbeaten for 31 matches between February 1991 and August 1993, as were the legendary Hungarians from the 1950s whose run came to a rather surprising end in the 1954 World Cup final and the (German) “miracle of Berne”.

If Spain avoid defeat in Azerbaijan and then also survive the group stage of the FIFA Confederations Cup in South Africa (against New Zealand , Iraq and South Africa ) unscathed, they will equal another record. Not counting defeats after penalty shoot-outs, Brazil went 35 matches unbeaten between 1993 and 1996 (from a statistical point of view, defeats and victories in penalty shoot-outs are classed as draws). Spain are therefore well on course to raise the bar even higher.

Longest run without a defeat:

Brazil 35 matches: December 1993 to January 1996*

Spain 31 matches: February 2007 to June 2009

Argentina 31 matches: February 1991 to August 1993

Hungary 31 matches: June 1950 to July 1954

Other confederations:

Asia Republic Korea – 28 matches: May 1978 to March 1979

Africa Ghana – 27 matches: November 1980 to June 1983

CONCACAF Jamaica – 22 matches: May 1997 to February 1998**

Oceania New Zealand – 13 matches: August 1983 to November 1985***


* including the final of the Copa América 1995 against Uruguay , which Brazil lost on a penalty shoot-out.

** including the match against Trinidad and Tobago in 1997, which Jamaica lost on a penalty shoot-out. Longest perfect record in CONCACAF: Mexico , 20 matches, 2004-2005.

*** Australia (OFC member until 2006, now AFC) were undefeated for 20 matches in 1996-1997.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Malaysian Sports Bloggers Association

Jai Ho MalaysiaMy friend Christopher Raj (jaihomalaysia.blogspot.com) plans to start a "Malaysian Sports Bloggers Association" (MSBA). I believe its is a very good idea and too be effective, proper planning id required.
Here is what he says in his posting today: " I have an idea....for starting the "Malaysian Sports Bloggers Association". I sent SMS to Rizal Hashim and told him about the idea, and also spoke to Satwant Singh and Tony Mariadass about it. Of course we would like to hear from other sports bloggers as well, and readers are also welcomed to give your opinion on this.
" The association will be active and able to make a difference in the sporting scene. Maybe we can raise some funds and send the first blogger to cover the Laos Sea Games !"
Why not! Let's think BIG .. ."
You can contact him through his email or his blog (above).

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Zol semakin sembuh

Ketua Pengarah Majlis Sukan Negara (MSN), Dato’ Zolkples Embong (gambar) yang semakin sembuh selepas melakukan pembedahan pintasan koronari Ahad 31 Mei 2009, sudahpun keluar dari Unit Rawatan Kardiak dan dimasukkan ke wad biasa, Hospital Ampang Puteri di sini, Selasa 2 Jun 2009.
Keadaan Dato’ Zolkples dilaporkan semakin sembuh selepas menjalani pembedahan lebih tiga jam itu dan kini ditempatkan di bilik 524 hospital berkenaan untuk tempoh sekurang-kurangnya seminggu.
Walaupun Ketua Pengarah MSN itu kini boleh dilawati oleh mereka yang mengenali beliau, bagaimanapun doktor memaklumkan bahawa Dato’ Zolkples masih memerlukan rehat secukupnya selepas menjalani pembedahan itu.
Sementara itu, Ketua Setiausaha Kementerian Belia dan Sukan, Dato’ Mohd Yassin Salleh mengumumkan pelantikan Pengarah Bahagian Pengurusan Sukan MSN, En Haji Abdul Jalil Abdullah sebagai pemangku Ketua Pengarah MSN sepanjang tempoh cuti sakit Dato’ Zolkples.
Segala urusan berkaitan MSN akan dilaksanakan oleh En Hj Abdul Jalil sehingga Dato’ Zolkples menyambung semula tugasnya kelak.
Dato’ Zolkples dijangka akan diberi cuti sakit antara dua hingga tiga bulan ekoran pembedahan selepas doktor mendapati tiga injap jantungnya tersumbat.
President Persekutuan Hoki Malaysia (PHM) Tengku Makhota Pahang, Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah adalah antara yang melawat Dato' Zolkples hari ini (Rabu, 3 Jun).

Badminton overdose

Badminton officials have a secret worry. They fear at one point in the future, a "badminton overdose" might effect the sport and cause the fans to lose interest. Their biggest fear is when the fans stay way from competition venues.
Some officials confided that too much news may sometime bring negative results. They worry that fans would soon be tired of reports of "Yap Kim Hock's sleepless nights" and "Rashid Sidek's headaches".
Also, officials are also worried that in every tournament the focus is on Lin Dan (China) and Lee Chong Wei. Take this two away and maybe you might not get the same type of coverage.
And so, badminton officials are trying to attract the media to write more about the junior circuits and also the development programs. They are trying to get the juniors to get some of the lime light and this, hopefully, won't cause the fans to be bored with the seniors.
Its a difficult task but one must congratulate the badminton officials for being aware of lurking dangers and taking positive and preventive steps.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

OCM elections: An observation

The much talked about Annual General Meeting of the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) is over. As a journalist and an observer to much of the goings-on, I decided to write about it so that future generations can read about it. The contents are not meant to put anybody down. However, I am aware that to some people the truth hurts, others don't like truths and some believe that truth must be half and the other half should be some philosophy.
This observations may not necessarily be very accurate because I was not in any of the groups. Therefore I write as a bystander and an observer, and at times as a friend to some of the people involved.
From what I understand, the whole thing began about the middle of 2008 when some officials felt that there was an urgent need for change. They felt that OCM has reached an all time low and without a change now it will be doomed to be a "post-office" forever. As far as I know, I could see four groups of people involved in the happenings that had all the ingredients of a thriller movie with a dash of scented spice from Bollywood and "big-mama" appearing in the last few days to comfort a cry-baby. Hmm..interesting movie.
One group was trying to see changes among the Vice Presidents and when they heard of the disappointments of . the late Dato' Ho Koh Chye, they managed to convince him to be a candidate . I understand that he agreed, but with some conditions. But his untimely death changed somethings.
Then there was another group that wanted to change the Honorary Secretary. I overheard that they found a candidate, in his late 40s, and very prominent at the moment and likely to be acceptable to most National Sports Associations, and even the National Sports Council (NSC). His identity was not and I think, has not been revealed to many until now. At, least not me.
This was because there were talks of Low Beng Choo contesting. There was a group trying to convince her to do so and also had a standby candidate to draw away some attention (and votes?) if there is a contest. But, Beng Choo delayed in giving an answer and that caused the the group with the mysterious candidate to pull back, because there was not enough time to put up a good fight.
Finally, some wanted a change in the Deputy Presidency and they approached Datuk Seri Dr. Ibrahim Saad, who reluctantly agreed and, I was told, that many came to support him and there was also calls from the high offices to assist him. He lost badly for reasons which have become a talking point in the sports fraternity.
Many things came out of this episode. One of this is a new respect for the likes of Datuk Seri Kee Yong Wee @ Kee Ah Mat (Wushu) and Datuk Abd Razak Latiff (Lawn Tennis). For this two gentlemen, I am told, a yes is a yes and no is a no. That's integrity.
Also, many gave credit to Datuk Seri Ibrahim for his sporting attitude. His supporters told him of a late onslaught by a top-gun, who had "personal and lengthy" conversations with some Datuk's, and a group of people who desperately went round confronting, appealing and offering many things in exchange for votes for the incumbent and also to keep "an old man" and a politician away. They advised him to shift gear and move one step up and accept the help that was offered from way up.
Apparently Datuk Seri Ibrahim told them that this is sport and desperate moves like that were not good for sport. Here was a another gentleman. That's a sporting spirit.
In the meantime, I was made to understand, that the Datuk's agreed to a "face saving act" for the top-gun but unfortunately lost their faces in the process. Many in the sports world are now aware of this and some have said that they will never trust these people from now on. I don't know who they are. One lie normally lead to another and soon it will lies all the way.
Another President of an association, withdrew support for a certain group after receiving promise of a sponsorship deal. There is a lot of talk about promises of positions (possibly Chef-de-missions and secretariat positions at multi sports games) or future appointments. But, I have no confirmations on that matter.
The biggest joke was when a President of an association told all the candidates that he can only promise two votes. When asked why, he said that he doesn't trust his secretary. That is sports in Malaysia.
On a personal note, I feel that Tunku Tan Sri Imran ibni Almarhum should remain as President. He is a good image for Malaysia at international level and for now, he is the only capable candidate. His critics say that Tunku is gifted only at chairing meetings locally and attending meetings abroad. I believe he has done a good job representing Malaysia in international forums
For the post of Secretary, I feel that Dato' Sieh Kok Chi should continue for now. Some people felt that he should retire and there are others who claim that he had said that 2008-2009 was his last term. In all fairness, I did not hear him say that and based on the current situation he seem to be only one capable of running OCM. However, I have to agree that my opinion might change if I now who the mysterious candidate is.
As I said earlier, this is just an observation and not meant to irritate anyone, especially the highly irritable ones who, our of desperation, go around point fingers at everything and almost anyone, for reasons best know to them only.
Officials tell me that the effects of the OCM elections are being felt elsewhere. One delegate who went against his Presidents wishes is now being sidelined and soon to be dumped. Another delegate who joined a group and went campaigning in the last few days before the elections, is expected to face a challenge for his own post in his association. Whatever it is, the elections are over and now all must work together for the betterment of sports in the country.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Malaysian Cricket in trouble

Malaysian Cricket Association (MCA) are facing the possibility of being evicted from their ground and home - the Kinrara Oval. The national body is said to have accumulated arrears of up to Rm500,000 in quit rent payments. With no funds coming in, MCA have to take some desperate steps to avoid being made "homeless".
According to sources, MCA owes Island and Peninsular Berhad more than half a million ringgit in accumulated quit rent payment. For the period January 2006 to December 2007, the amount owed was Rm231,963. And, if the amount for 2008 and 2009 are added, it would exceed Rm500,000.
The lease expires on 31 October 2018, but Island and Peninsular Berhad - which will be merged to be PNB Properties soon - have received offers from various parties to take over the premises. Among them are the Malay Cricket Association, which has managed its "home" the Bayumas Oval quite well.
The Kinrara Oval was constructed by Island and Peninsular at a cost of Rm3.6 million, of which, MCA had to pay only Rm1.8 million by way of monthly payments of Rm13,000. As of December 2008, MCA had paid up Rm300,000. The outstanding balance is Rm1.5 million.
What are options left for MCA? Firstly, the national body can appeal to Island and Peninsular Berhad to give it some time to find the funds. Secondly, MCA could allow the Malay Cricket to take over and then rent it to the national body.
Finally, maybe MCA could appeal to the government for some help. Personalities like Dato' Seri Dr. Ibrahim Saad can assist because he is very close to the national leadership.
What about Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM)? Can they help MCA? Anyway, the cricket fraternity is looking to MCA President, Tunku Tan Sri Imran Almarhum Tuanku Ja'afar to steer the sport away from this difficult situation.

Farewell to a dedicated official

Former weightlifter, Mr. Sum Kwok Seng passed away peacefully on 30th May 2009. He was 84.

The late Mr. Sum Kwok Seng was a weightlifter and a active member of the Malaysian Amateur Weightlifting Federation (MAWF), from the 50’s until the 90’s. He was a qualified international Weightlifting Referee and has officiated at many international Weightlifting Championships, including the 1970 Asian Games and the 1988 Olympic Games. He was the Assistant Treasurer of Olympic Council of Malaysia from 1974 to 1994.

In the 1980s, Kwok Seng used to drop by for the "morning talk" that took place at the OCM office, or to be more precise in front of the late Mr. Thong Poh Nyen's desk. The regulars were, besides Poh Nyen, the then Honorary Treasurer, the late Mr. Lum Mun Chak and sportswriters that include A. Subramaniam (Star), Ishak Dalib (Berita Harian) dan me. The others who would come by from time to time are Tham Choy Lin (BERNAMA) and A. Ghaffar Ismail (Berita Harian) and Dato' Sieh Kok Chi.

The "morning talk" have to stop latest by 11.30am because the Poh Nyen will get ready to go home.
Kwok Seng was responsible for coming up with a formula to calculate the amount spend on each athlete during multi sports games, especially SEA Games where the athletes arrive and depart at different times and are at the games for different durations.

He was one of the founder members of the Southeast Asia Peninsular Games Federation in 1959. He and Poh Nyen were the two representatives of FMOC, who attended the inaugural meeting of South East Asia Peninsular Games Federation in Bangkok on 25th and 26th June 1959. He was inducted into the OCM Hall of Fame in 2002.

The late Mr. Sum Kwok Seng was cremated on Monday, st June 2009 at the Qui Yuen Funeral Parlour, in Petaling Jaya.

The Mayan Prophecy

The 7th Century Mayan Prophet, Pacal Votan left a universal message for future generations of an envolving earth. He foretold of our accelerated technological society and the resulting damages of our collective divergence from natural law in exchange of materialistic value. He foretold that the "end of this creation" will be on 21st December 2012. He gave the reasons behind the predictions and also the things that will take place when the earth experience electro magnetic problems. There are those who believe that there will an end and there are also those who believe in rapture and return.

But, what has all these got to do with sports? Well, 21st December 2012 is about six months after the Summer Olympics in London. If something is supposed to happen on 21st December, would there be some signs already six months before that? We will have to wait and see. So far all of the Mayan's predictions have come to past.

Recently, I read a comment by a reader in an active sports blog about Malaysia not having a contingent at the London games. The writer asked, "who's gonna qualify?". I am not sure what the intentions are but this question need some serious attention. To qualify for London 2012, an athlete must be 20 plus of age and ranked top 10 in Asia in 2011. We are talking about individual events. No need to talk about team sports, in fact it would be a total waste of money is spend on team sports to qualify for the Olympics.

What happens if none qualifies? Then maybe we have to use the back door entry with wild cards and "sympathy cards" or maybe even persuade International Olympic Committee to have an extra exhibition event. However, whether athletes qualify or not, some officials, I am sure, are dreaming of being at the Olympics for the umpteenth time. Doesn't matter whether senile or not so senile at that time, what counts is they have to be there. I won't be surprised if the scheming, horse-trading and offering of post, position and trips elsewhere begins now. The countdown has started in Malaysia, not yet for the athletes, but surely for the officials.