Going Nuts, by Graig Nunis - as published in Mailsport today
A WEEK ago an old colleague brought a copy of the New Straits Times (NST) to the office.
Nothing strange about that except it was dated July 9, 1996 and back then, Malay Mail was under the NSTP group.
Ian Pereira, 73, who last month was inducted into Olympic Council of Malaysia's (OCM) Hall of Fame thought it would be a good idea for the younger journalists to see what a newspaper looked like nearly 20 years ago.
What caught the eye was the back page picture which featured a streaker (her bottom blacked out and front partially facing away from the camera) running across the pristine Wimbledon grass courts.
Nowadays, we might get in trouble if we show a little cleavage or belly button while recently NST even pixelated armpit hair!
Hugging is apparently OK – but not if done by K-pop stars!
How times have changed.
Well, not everything. Take the BA of Malaysia (BAM) for example. The back page headline on July 9, 1996 read Academy: BAM must get it right.
Fast forward to 2015 and we all know BAM didn’t – as here we are still talking about Malaysia having no proper back-up shuttlers.
We are still harbouring hopes of being among the top three badminton playing nations in the world when our only world class player is Lee Chong Wei – who is 33 this year – and yet still have no idea how to treat our coaches.
Rashid Sidek may not be the best coach we have but he has been treated very poorly by BAM.
He had quit in September 2013 as he claimed he could not get along with BAM president Tan Sri Tengku Mahaleel Tengku Ariff – who was voted in two months earlier to replace Datuk Seri (now Tan Sri) Mohd Nadzmi Mohd Salleh – but was persuaded to remain.
Journalists who cover badminton claimed the pair’s relationship was less than cordial and Mahaleel even slammed Rashid for Malaysia’s failure to win the men’s singles gold at the Commonwealth Games.
Rashid was then dropped from the World Championships team and also excluded from plans leading to the 2016 Rio Olympics. Indonesia’s Hendrawan was given the task instead.
But, after much hue and cry, Rashid was reinstated.
On Dec 31, Rashid and several other national coaches – Tey Seu Bock, Jeremy Gan, Pang Cheh Chang, Rosman Razak, Wong Tat Meng – and coaches from the Bukit Jalil Sports School were informed via email their contracts which ended on that day, would only be extended by three months.
BAM wanted incoming technical director Morten Frost Hansen, who starts work in March, to have the final say on their future. Surely BAM could have informed them earlier. And why not face-to-face?
To make matters worse, Rashid was stripped of his position as head coach and told to take a pay cut. So much for loyalty.
Several coaches were approached to replace Rashid but none accepted. On Saturday, after a BAM council meeting, Rashid was reinstated as head coach.
In a new twist, BAM deputy president Datuk Mohamad Norza Zakaria denied Rashid was removed but several other officials are still claiming Rashid is no longer the head coach.
It is indeed strange BAM can’t make up its mind over Rashid, or maybe as some suggest, one man just wants him out.
Rashid has dedicated his life to badminton – first as a player and now as a coach – if he is not good enough, then by all means replace him. Just don’t treat him like a shuttlecock.
For all he has done for the country, Rashid certainly deserves some respect.
Going back to the NST, among the other headlines on that day were Pahang FA fail to attend,
Nadarajan unhappy with MHF, MNCF yet to invite cyclists, Third report lodged and Malaysian coaches need coaching.
Just last week Pahang were once again hauled up to face the players’ status committee, the Malaysian Hockey Federation is now the Malaysian Hockey Confederation and in financial trouble and lacking leadership and the Malaysian National Cycling Federation was suspended for a month last year for financial irregularities. The suspension has yet to be lifted.
The Malaysian Athletics Federation (MAF) is fighting to with Olympic Council of Malaysia’s over the right to host the Malaysia International Marathon while back in 1996, there were police reports lodged over attempts to cheat sponsors who donated to the Malaysian Amateur Athletics Union as MAF was known as back then.
Coaches? Well till today there are many associations who believe foreigners are better than locals – even when the locals are better qualified and don’t ask for exorbitant salaries.
It’s enough to make sports fans go nuts.
Graig is Malay Mail sports editor.