Minister calls for athletes to try to win at all costs
KUALA LUMPUR: Athletes must learn to put aside biased judging in sports and try to win against all odds.
Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said said yesterday that although they were robbed of medals in the recently concluded SEA Games in Thailand through such means, the Malaysian contingent had prevailed to emerge second overall.
She added that this was due to teamwork and gave credit to teams who had aggressively pushed their athletes even when they were faced with biased judging in their events.
“This is a great victory for us and has put into sharp focus the need to keep trying even against the odds. Some of the associations had taken note of the judging and instead had aggressively protested to the organisers and kept their athletes focused on their task. This paid off and they managed to win despite the odds.
“But other sports associations just complained and did not do anything. Thus they lost out. We must learn from this and try to push hard when things go against us,” she said.
Azalina said that changes in the way they prepared for the Korat SEA Games and the greater effort put in by teams had shown that they could win at the regional Games.
“This is an achievement to be proud of and I want the public to acknowledge it.
“It’s true that we could have done better if some of the targeted sports had delivered.
“Let us remember that the host nation had wanted to win at all cost. And in the subjective sports they had it their way. This will continue to happen and it will be no different at the next Games in Laos.
“But we must be prepared for it and fight hard to ensure that biased judging is stopped,” she added.
The minister said that the next step was to review the Korat Games and to see how they can further improve on the programme.
But she said the associations should continue to work on their own and not wait for the review.
“We must also look at which sports to pay more attention to in the future. The core sports programme is certainly bearing fruit but this is not enough. We must strive for further excellence,” she said.
The next target is the Beijing Olympics and the National Sports Council (NSC) will be asked to review their programme as well.
In Korat the Malaysians won 68 gold medals for their second highest finish (overall) in the series. Thailand, as expected, won the overall title with183 gold medals.