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Will the millions be well spent?

I must admit that the biggest surprise of the 2013 Budget was there weren't any surprises at all.

Nevertheless, it is clear that the government recognises sports as a unify factor. Thus it came to no surprise that RM 15 million has been allocated to prepare athletes for SEA Games & ASEAN Para Games in 2013 and the 2014 Commonwealth Games & Asian Games.

The other allocations include;

- RM50 million for the next four years in preparation for the 2016 Olympic under the Road to Rio programme.

-  A covered velodrome in Seremban and a badminton academy in Bukit Kiara with an allocation of RM80 million.

A covered velodrome in Seremban would surely be music to the ears of cyclist. But I still remember the words of national cycling coach John Beasley who had, during dinner in Melbourne, told me that;

"It is better to have many mini velodromes all over the nation then to have one big expensive velodrome."

The BA of Malaysia (BAM) would surely be extremely pleased with the government's efforts of making their badminton academy into a reality. After all, the dream of setting up an academy started even during Elyas Omar's time as BAM president years ago.

I also remembered clearly when several officials including BAM president Nadzmi Salleh visited an open space next to Sri Garden International School in Taman Maluri which was apparently the spot for BAM's new academy which never took place.

Finally there is some assurance that an academy will be built in Bukit Kiara.

However, building academies are easy. Maintaining it and finding the right people to manage and to scout and mold the talents that will graduate from such academies are that key factors which will ensure that such a million Ringgit academy be a factory of talents or just another white elephant. The same debate was raised by artists in the country.

Here's another surprise. Despite Sports Minister Ahmad Shabery Cheek's efforts of hyping the Sports Industry, there seems to be no mention of tax incentives or subsidies for private entities to sponsor or be active in sports.

Perhaps it was not part of the plan for now but the only way forward is to ensure that the government is slowly relieved of the burden of pumping money into elite sports when the same finances can be distributed to other vital areas including developing rural areas.

The government has spoken. Now it is up to the stake-holders to ensure that the money allocated will be well spent.

HD says: Hmm..


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