Skip to main content

Life after sports for Malaysian athletes

Loh Jack Chang, a decorated wushu exponent and an MBA holder, is unsure what's next for him once he quits sports.

“We’re taught we can push through anything, we can make it wherever we want to go, and we’re always told to not ask for help."

Those were the words of US Olympian Allison Schmitt.

The Michigan-born swimmer was quoted in the article 'The Dark Side of Going for Gold' — which discusses how athletes are prone to emotional crashes after the Olympics.

As the 29th edition of the SEA Games ended in Kuala Lumpur last week, Malaysian athletes are also emotionally tested.

They now ask - what's next?

Most of them are enjoying a break, or what is widely known as a cooling off period. However, many of those who competed in the regional Games said they are unsure what is their next assignment as they await instructions from their respective associations and the National Sports Council.

But those who have expressed their intention to retire face another uncertainty - life after sports.

I met decorated national swimmer Khoo Cai Lin days prior the Games. She was wondering of her next career move, hoping to land a job in marketing.

"I wished I had someone guiding me," the 29-year-old Khoo confessed.

"I've got no working experience and that has been a major setback."

Khoo is not alone.

Wushu star Loh Jack Chang, who expressed his intention to retire after the World Championships in Kazan on Sept 27 - Oct 3, said his first priority is to prepare for his wedding scheduled next year. But he is unsure of what we will do once he ties the knot.

Loh, 30, has a Masters in Business Administration but has zero working experience.

"I admit I'm not sure what's next for me once I leave wushu. I've never given much thought about it during my early days in the sport but now, I must admit I'm a little worried," Loh said.

Perhaps our national athletes should be given the opportunity to go through internship programmes with corporate companies or government agencies to allow them to pick up skills which will come in handy once they stop being athletes. 

But help must come from within - ie the athletes themselves. 

Our stars must realise their celebrity like status will eventually come to an end. 

Some will be able to cope with it while others will find it difficult adjusting to life as a has-been, regardless of his or her past stature.

And preparing to lead a normal life is something they ought to do.


Popular posts from this blog

What went wrong with KL SEA Games?

145 gold medals.
It's the best Team Malaysia has ever achieved since the inception of the SEAP Games in1959.
The 29th edition of the SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur ended yesterday. The opening ceremony dazzled those at the stands and viewers at home while the performances during the closing ceremony yesterday jogged plenty of musical memories to many.
Our athletes, the real superheroes, brought smiles through their heroic display. They made everyday a happy day.
Kudos to the officials - from the coaches, the National Sports Institute and National Sports Council - for their hard work in ensuring our athletes perform to their best.
But it was not all memorable.

'World fashion disaster' in KL

World Fashion Week Asia 2017 ended over the weekend.

And the launch on Friday at Palace of the Golden Horses at Mines Resort City just outside Kuala Lumpur turned out to be a forgettable night.


It was poorly organised.

Just as many are trying to get over the nightmare witnessed throughout the KL SEA Games, the organiser of World Fashion Week Asia 2017 has made it look like Malaysians seem to have lost it when it comes to hosting major events and hospitality.

Here's why.

Royal protocol ignored

1. The Sultanah of Terengganu Sultanah Nur Zahirah was invited to grace the event.
    a. There was no holding room for the Sultanah and VIPs accompanying her.
    b. The Sultanah was invited on stage without anyone accompanying her there (a big NO NO if anyone knows protocol involving royalty).
    c. The event dragged on till 11.30pm, way past the cut off point of the very many events I've attended with members of the royal family present.
   d. The Sultanah was forced to walk all t…

Klang run 'illegal', says Sports Commissioner

UPDATE (Dec 11; 11.58am): Sporting events approved by Sports Commissioner's Office will be posted on the Youth and Sports Ministry's website starting Dec 14, as revealed by the Sports Commissioner in her statement today. I'm glad the last point of my observation (as per posting right below) has been addressed.


UPDATE (10.57pm): A Twitter user had sent me a link by the organiser of the Klang Heritage Marathon 2017. It states that the marathon has been "postponed to Oct 14, 2018" and that they have been victims of fake news and will lodge reports with the authorities against materials with elements of defamation or fake news. Read the full statement, posted on Dec 2, here.


A Klang City International Marathon 2017 pacer suffered serious injuries after she and two others were hit by a car

Turns out that the organiser of this morning's event, Earth Runners International Group Sdn Bhd, DID NOT submit any application to the Sports Commissioner&#…