Searching for the next champion

"Malaysia needs more sports icons who are able to inspire the nation, especially the young generation."

Those were the words of Prime Minister Najib Razak while he was on radio station Melody FM yesterday.

It was only natural for Astro Awani's Kamarul Bahrin to zoom into the quote as it turned into a topic of discussion -  Mencari Ikon Sukan (Seraching for the Sports Icon) - on Agenda Awani (channel 501) last night.

Present on the show were Olympic Council of Malaysia council member and a man that needs no introduction in the national cycling federation Naim Mohamad and UiTM's Science and Recreation Faculty senior lecturer Sadek Mustaffa.

The guests agreed it was difficult to churn another Lee Chong Wei or Nicol David (pic). But there is a need to ensure the gap between the best and the rest is not as wide as it is today.

They also agreed it simply boiled down to grassroots development.

Naim said;

"It's a long process to search for world champions but we need to strive to find talents and start planting the seeds, hopefully they will grow healthy. We need to find small icons - in classrooms, residential areas and even villages.

"But our constraint is that we don't have enough experienced people to scout for such talents. We need to plan ahead and ensure such resources are readily available."

Sadek, meanwhile, had this to say;

"It is hoped the 1Student 1 Sport policy is taken seriously strengthened by the presences of well trained Physical Education teachers. Sadly, only 60% are trained PE teachers while the remaining 40% are just filling in for the period."

And their solution?

Naim believes there should be more emphasis of sports especially at our universities.

Sadek, meanwhile, challenged if anyone dares to suggest to the Education Minister (who is also the Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin) that every Wednesday (or at least once a month) be made into a physical activity day where students take part in sports or extra-curricular activities throughout the day.

"Varsity students pick up seven subjects in a semester and they have no time to play sports. Some scholars are also not in agreement as some are very academic centric while forgetting the social aspect," he added.

The conversations will continue as they have in the past. Who is willing to step up and make the changes? Till then, we will continue our search for the next Chong Wei or Nicol.

HD says: There needs to be commitment from everyone - from the child, parents, teachers, policy makers and the community.


  1. Parent's do need to play a key role too. They should reduce time spend with the kids in shopping complex. Or should we bring sports into shopping complex?

  2. Don't blame the parents as the authorities are more concerned in building shopping complex and white elephants(some on public playing fields) than sports complex /facilities.

  3. Sadek's comment on only 60% are trained PE teachers while the remaining 40% are just filling in for the period." Hope that as an academician he could back up with empirical data to support his claim.


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