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Never forget the grassroots

Tengku Mahaleel Tengku Ariff (circled) "These players are very keen and with expert guidance and encouragement would produce a new crop of players ready to supplement the school team when some players have to leave next year."

That was an excerpt taken from Tan Sri Tengku Mahaleel Tengku Ariff ’s article that appeared in the Sultan Ismail College, Kota Baru school magazine in 1966.

The article was sent to me by Tengku Mahaleel’s former school teacher Jacob Matthews who had coached the Under-15 team which became east coast champions in the King’s Cup in 1966.

Tengku Mahaleel was the badminton school captain and today, he is the BA of Malaysia (BAM) president.

Before making ambitious statements, Tengku Mahaleel ought to take a step back and realise what makes a champion.

He should know that it starts from grassroot development.

BAM should rope in the various stakeholders including universities and clubs to expand the pool of talent. The onus should not be on BAM alone to mould talents. Shuttlers do not represent BAM or any club during major tournaments — they represent Malaysia.

Beyond reports of prominent individuals gunned down, the tragic death of national basketball player Jacky Ng Kiat Kee and religious authorities planning to discuss the participation of Muslim females in swimming and gymnastics, Jacob's act of compiling Tengku Mahaleel’s old article is a welcome respite.

It reminds us that we need to learn from the past and look at the grassroots before venturing into an ambitious future.

Pic: Tengku Mahaleel (circled) in a picture that appeared in his 1966 school magazine, courtesy of Jacob.

Read more in Haresh Says in The Malay Mail today.


  1. Bro, How many pages does the local media give to grassroots development? I remember you saying that they can go to the alternative press a couple of years ago......

  2. Pls check out the progress of The National Football Development Program . They had a training and playing competition in Bosnia and Croatia recently. They emerged runners' up at the recent Cappy Cup 2013. Then the Project 2019 ( all Under 11 ) went over to Japan and just returned from Saitama with promising results being placed 3rd out of 24 teams in the tournament for U12.Only social media FB posted the progress of this team, what about mainstream medias????


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