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Keep faith in local talents, says Kok Chi

As published in today's Mailsport

By Haresh Deol

PETALING JAYA — The recent exploits of Khairul Hafiz Jantan prove the country has amazing talents and coaches who are capable of turning our youngsters into champions.

Olympic Council of Malaysia assistant secretary-general Datuk Sieh Kok Chi also credited schools for having nurtured talented athletes.

Khairul Hafiz Jantan broke the 100m national record of 10.30s after clocking 10.18s to win the gold medal at the Malaysia Games on Wednesday. He also registered a new 200m Games record after he bettered his timing from 21.14s to 21.03s — all within 24 hours. He smashed the 14-year-old Games record of 21.33s held by Nazmizan Muhammad.

“We are our worst enemies. We have plenty of talents but instead of saying nice things, we often doubt their capabilities,” said Kok Chi.

“The country has plenty of talents, our local coaches are capable of moulding champions. Why can’t we accept that fact and help them?”

He said there were certain officials who doubted Bardul Hisyam Abdul Manap’s 10.29s achieved during the Asean Schools Championship in Brunei last year and were secretly smiling when his timing was disputed following a technical boo-boo by the organisers.

“Some were happy when Badrul didn’t make it and some doubted Khairul Hafiz would be capable of breaking the 200m right after winning the 100m race. People had plenty to say but nothing to encourage him.”

He added it was high time schools be credited for their roles and that more attention be paid at the grassroots.

“Without Victoria Institution there would not be Sieh Kok Chi. My school gave me an opportunity to be a water polo athlete and I went on to represent the country. Schools are doing great jobs and they should be supported.

“The local coaches too have plenty to offer. It’s time we gave the younger coaches a chance to shine. Sadly, we prefer hiring foreigners ... I just don’t understand why.”

He hoped Tunku Mahkota Ismail sports school teacher Mohd Poad Kassim, who coaches Khairul Hafiz and Badrul, be given the support he needs.

“The boys don’t need another coach. If we are serious, we should assist them. We have many experts in the country and they should know what’s best.

“These boys are young, barely 20. They have a long way to go and have serious chances at making it big in the region. We should start grooming them for the SEA Games and perhaps the Asian Games.”


  1. With all due respect. Where was the SSTMI sprinters being produced during the last 5 years, or since 2013 SEA Games. Really, I think this is another case of kids with God given talents who pop-up from time to time over a generation. Otherwise we need ask, where are the comparable women sprinters with comparable 100, 200, 400 times being produced by this same expert? Yes, the SSTMI coaches can get credit for refinements etc. but taking credit for creating these super young sprinters is way out of line. Again, where are the 12 sec boys this coach has turned into 10.70 runners? Where are the 13 sec. girls they have turned into 11.50 sprinters? Were are the 26 sec girls turned into 23 sec 200m runners or the 60 sec women 400m girls turned to sub 54sec. Its not turning a 10.55 young man into a 10.18 that makes a great sprint coach, its a history of turning a 13 sec girl into a sub 11.50, or turning a 26 sec young girl into a sub 23sec 200 runner or turning a typical 60 sec 400m young lady (who is not the daughter of a former national champions and who clearly has both unique and superior genes to start with) into a sub 54 sec runner after a few years that suggests a great coach is before us. Yes, local coaches should be recognized but Malaysia needs to open its eyes and allow open competition for national coaching positions to all coaches who seek those positions, especially in our women's events and those events we have tried to remove from our coming KL SEA Games. And, what about those friendly foreign coaches who have offered to help our men and women long, short sprinters, decathlon/heptathlon-event and middle-distance runners under merit-based contracts rather than those in the IAAF fraternity of "celebrity" coaches, who demand and have recently received (from the MAF/MSN) high salaries with no guarantees of success, or who are being ignored in favor of local coaches who are not expert and "don't know what's best, or are being ignored in favor of foreign coaches who have been here since 2014 and who's results have caused the efforts to have their events removed from the KL SEA Games? Malaysia needs all the help it can get to avoid a humiliation in athletics in 2017


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