Below is an email sent by national swimmer Chui Lai Kwan to Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin yesterday.
It is unclear if Khairy has read this email.
It is with regards to events leading to Lai Kwan's exclusion from the World Championships in Barcelona held earlier this month.
Some claim the Sabahan is being "used" by certain parties.
However, the fact remains that talents are often ignored the moment they opt out from the national training structure. Such is usually seen in the badminton fraternity.
It must be noted athletes from developed countries are free to train on their own and only gather before a major event, something which Lai Kwan pointed out in her email.
Perhaps this could be one of the subject of discussion during the Youth and Sports Ministry's Hari Raya do at the Juara Stadium in Bukit Jalil today.
Read more in today's Mailsport.
Firstly, please thank YB Khairy for taking the time to look into this matter. I truly appreciate his concern.
Unfortunately, I believe ASUM has conveniently left out some very important information which I would like to highlight to YB in BLUE below:
a) ASUM had verbally informed Puan Helen Chang (Persatuan Renang Amatur Selangor) that the 9th Singapore National Swimming Championships was not to be a qualifying platform for the 15th FINA World Championship. This was the agreement when Puan Helen Chang asked Mr Edwin Chong of ASUM to assist in registering the participation of Persatuan Renang Amatur Selangor for the Singapore Championships
1. I am aware that ASUM had verbally informed Puan Helen Chang of PRAS, however ASUM had failed to inform any other persons! I am from Sabah, not Selangor, and my own state coach and state association are not aware of this information. Why did ASUM fail to inform any other swimmers, coaches or state affiliatesof their decisionespecially for such a significant world-class competition? Also, for your information, Pn Helen was informed VERBALLY over a phone call. As a national governing body, should we not expect ASUM to conduct their matters in a TRANSPARENT and PROFESSIONAL manner whereby a memo or notice should be circulated IN WRITING to ALL their affiliates, and not only a selected few?
2. As you may already know, our preparations as athletes is totally dependent on the competitions we are peaking for. My coach plans for me to peak in accordance to the dates of the competitions. Unfortunately, in this particular case, ASUM did not inform anyone of their decision that the Malaysian Open (held on 16-19th May 2013) will be the last and final qualifying platform for the World Championships, until ONE WEEK AFTER THE MALAYSIAN OPEN WAS CONCLUDED! Mr Edwin Chong had informed Puan Helen that the 9th Singapore National Swimming Championships will not be considered as a qualifying platform only in JUNE, just before the event registration was due. My coach had planned for me to peak for the 9th Singapore National Swimming Championships, only to be told 3 weeks before the competition that it will not be considered. All my hard work for nothing! I feel that ASUM is UNFAIR in this matter to withhold such important information from the other coaches and swimmers. I have found out that only those training in Bukit Jalil under the National Coach were aware that Malaysian Open was to be the final qualifying platform. The rest of us who do not train in Bukit Jalil were left in the dark. This clearly screams DOUBLE STANDARDS to me!
b) Puan Helen Chang has appealed to ASUM to reconsider the above decision but ASUM did not budge on this matter. As agreed earlier, the 56th Malaysia Open Swimming remains as the final qualifying platform for the 15th FINA World Championships.
1. For your information, the world'sswimming governing body, FINA,has officially set July 1st, 2013 as the last qualifying date for the World Championships. Every country throughout the world conformed to this qualifying dateline, why did ASUM not? I would like to know what are the specific reasons ASUM would not budge on this matter, especially when they do not have to personally finance the swimmers to Barcelona (The trip is paid for by MSN). When questioned, ASUM pushed the issue to MSN and said that it is MSN who refuses to consider any swimmers NOT TRAINING IN BUKIT JALIL under the National Coach.
Dear YB, is this true? I have received this answer many times before from ASUM in the past 2 years since I have quit training in Bukit Jalil under the National Coach. ASUM always mentions that MSN refuses to support any of the national athletes who do not train at Bukit Jalil. This seems to be true as I have not been receiving any kind of support from ASUM nor MSN since I left Bukit Jalil - I have been excluded from international competitions, training camps, no stipend, allowance or swimming attire, no technical or medical support, nothing at all! I am the current national record holder in 3 events and Malaysia's No. 1 female sprinter yet I do not feel like I am treated like a Malaysian! In fact, I feel like an outsider who has been intentionally victimized for choosing not to train with the national team!
2. Dear YB, if this is true, I really hope you will take the time to look into this matter seriously before Malaysia loses another top swimmer. I know for a fact that Foo Jian Beng, Malaysia's No. 1 male sprinter,had quit swimming altogether
because he was sick and tired of not receiving any support from Malaysia despite sacrificing so much for the country. He also chose not to train with the national program in Bukit Jalil and because of that, like myself, he had been victimized. Dear YB, for your information all the top swimming countries in the world (USA, UK, Australia and even Singapore!) have DE-centralized training as they understand that different swimmers have different needs. And instead of victimizing their national swimmers who choose to remain with their own Club/Coach, they even provide these swimmers AND their Clubs/Coaches with all the extra support (both financially and technically) they need!
Dear YB, as you can see I am very frustrated and disappointed with what has been going on and I hope you can understand my predicament. I love swimming and I love my country but the actions taken by the governing bodies unfortunately does not support athletes like myself who wish to further pursue my athletic career. I truly do hope you will be able to do something about this, otherwise sad to say, sports in Malaysia will never improve. I do not know how much longer I can put up with this unfairness.
Thank you very much again for your time and concern!
CHUI LAI KWAN
HD says: Still remember swimming at Mimaland and the Weld swimming pool.