Let's not breed contented athletes

Haresh Says, as published in The Malay Mail today.

IT was a humiliating defeat that irked Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin.

The national sepak takraw team lost 3-0 to South Korea (yes, you read it right) in the first leg of the International Sepak Takraw Federation (ISTAF) SuperSeries men’s final in New Delhi, India over the weekend.

It was a double celebration for the Koreans after the hockey team bagged the Asia Cup title in Ipoh on the same day.
Khairy was quoted by dailies as saying the ministry would reevaluate funding to the sport.

This, however, did not go down well with certain quarters who insist 'professional' athletes in this country still require funding from the government.

Boo hoo!

Cynical as this may sound but Malaysian athletes are a lucky lot as most receive a steady allowance and accommodation from the ministry.

A CBC news report, aired last Saturday, how some Canadian athletes raise their own funds to fulfil their Olympic dreams.

Alpine skier Larisa Yurkiw uses crowd sourcing sites and social media to raise funds by selling knitted toques while bobsledder David Bissett sells home security alarms door-to-door as they train for the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia next year.

National hockey coach Paul Revington and his assistant Arul Selvaraj will be able to explain how the national hockey players in South Africa and Ireland maintain their day jobs and train in the evenings. They raise their own funds and only gather a week or two before any major competition.

It is good to hear some of our athletes have ventured into new opportunities. World No 1 shuttler Lee Chong Wei is involved in a wide range of businesses – from selling computers to setting up a public relations company and having a share in a development project in Ampang.

National bowler Zandra Aziela, meanwhile, sells fashionable clothes online.

Despite the additional income, they still receive a steady flow of incentives from the government.

It looks like being an athlete in Malaysia is more rewarding than becoming a doctor or a lawyer!

Some argue the athletes deserve it for they have made the nation proud through their achievements. Others call it 'perks' — just like how government servants get to travel business class during major competitions or how they are allowed to bring their families when they study abroad.

But there are those who say sport is just like any other job and after having received so much from tax payers money, these athletes should give back to the people through grassroots.

Malaysian athletes ought to be thankful with the handouts they receive. Hopefully, this will not breed a contented lot of athletes.

Haresh Deol is a news editor with The Malay Mail. Banter with him at haresh@mmail.com.my or on Twitter @HareshDeol.


  1. but most of the time, their achievements is not worth it compare to what govt has give them


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