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Better late than never for skate enthusiasts

When Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein was the Youth and Sports Minister from 1999 to 2004, he brought the Asian X-Games to Malaysia.

Extreme sports enthusiasts were elated with the initiative. A skate park was even built at Bukit Kiara.

But there were those who questioned the need for the ministry to spend "millions" to obtain the hosting rights from 2002 to 2004.

Fast forward to today, skateboarding has been added to the upcoming Asian Games in Indonesia. The sport will also be contested at the 2020 Olympics.

Last month, the Youth and Sports Ministry announced "skateboarding and climbing were also on the National Sports Council's agenda in expanding the scope of national sports".

The NSC is also tasked to organise a national championship for skateboarding.

Some call it a missed opportunity.

If officials within the ministry had followed through Hishammuddin's initiative, we could have a larger pool of talents today.

We have the likes of Joe Ipoh, Boy PJ and Pa'din Musa who are the 'sifus' in the industry and are able to assist in creating more skateboard athletes.

Joe Ipoh in action.

For the record, Pa'din was recently honoured by Vans Malaysia through the release of his signature shoe colourway.

Meanwhile, Darren Chiu of Showroom is taking the lead by building a skate park in Paradigm Mall, Johor Baru.

He aims to create a strong skateboarding community consisting Malaysian and Singaporean enthusiasts.

Chiu's park will be ready mid-February and he plans to invite some "big names" to launch it.

The Petaling Jaya City Council will also built a skate park in Kelana Jaya as the Malaysian Extreme Sports Association plans to work with the Youth and Sports and Education ministries to get school children in and around Petaling Jaya involved in the sport 

The recognition skateboarding has received from the Olympic Council of Asia and International Olympic Committee has certainly opened the eyes of many.

The same can be said about eSports.

As Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) president Tunku Imran Ja'afar said recently: "I would consider myself a traditionalist. (Tan Sri) Dr PS Nathan once told me ten-pin bowling was going to be big and I told him how can a parlour game be huge. He proved me and many people wrong.

"I have learnt that you cannot ignore such things ... in fact ignoring it (new sports) could be dangerous. It's all about having a good system and ensuring it is done properly."


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