Zolkples: We will continue focus on core sports
THE National Sports Council (NSC) are not about to jump on the SEA Games medal bandwagon.
Despite being happy with the country’s 68-52-96 haul to finish second overall in the Korat Games, the NSC director general, Datuk Zolkples Embong, said that priority would still be given on preparing athletes for the more important multi-sport events.
“Thailand may have topped the medals charts but look at where the bulk of their medals came from. They scored big in sports like muay thai and dancesport, which are not contested anywhere else,” said Zolkples yesterday.
“It is better for Malaysia to stick to our plan to concentrate on the eight core and several other high performance sports in which we have chances to do well at the Commonwealth, Asian and Olympic Games level.”
He added that the NSC would conduct a sport-by-sport review on performances and results in Korat.
“Our next programme is to prepare the elite athletes for the dual challenge in 2010 – the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi and Asian Games in Guangzhou,” said Zolkples.
“The 2009 Vientiane SEA Games comes into the equation as well but our training programmes will be geared towards excelling in the two bigger events in 2010.”
He also urged the SEA Games Federation (SGF) to look into the habit of the host country introducing sports of their choice with the sole aim to rake in the medals and become overall champions.
“The SGF need to sit down and look at promoting sports which can improve the chances of the countries in the region to compete at a higher level. For the good of sports in the region, there is no need for sports like fin swimming, shuttlecock kicking and chess to be introduced,” said Zolkples.
“Unfair judging in speculative sports also needs to be cut down before the situation gets out of hand. But I am confident that we would have a fairer Games in 2009 because Laos will not be in the running to become overall champions.”
In Korat, Thailand finished as overall champions with a 183-123-102 haul.
Zolkples also warned national athletes not to let successes in the SEA Games get to their heads.
“We do not need any prima donnas representing us. Just because an athlete has won does not mean that he can make demands or act unreasonably,” he said.
“The NSC would not compromise on discipline.
“We only want patriotic athletes to represent us, like our women’s basketball team, who showed true heart to win the gold medal in Korat.”