Azalina: Prove yourselves
THE budget slash for the Eight Core Sports Programme stays.
In challenging the eight — aquatics, athletics, badminton, bowling, football, hockey, gymnastics and squash — Sports Minister Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said (right) said they should not expect preferential treatment just because they are in the programme.
“If you are part of the Eight Core Sports, you should do better than others. Prove yourself first, then come to the government (for funding),” said Azalina after visiting the National Sports Council (NSC) in Bukit Jalil yesterday.
“When the government was providing complete funding, the NSAs were very happy as some even enjoyed the benefits despite not doing well.
“Just because they are in the programme, they expect special treatment but to be fair, 18 other sports which have been doing well also need to get their share of funding.
“If anything, it is the 18 sports who should be complaining and not the Eight Core Sports.
“Focusing on the elite and back-up programmes for all 26 sports is the fairest move. We have always said that development should be the responsibility of the NSAs and not the government.”
The eight associations have found it hard to stomach the NSC’s decision to slash the Core Sports budget to RM18 million.
The eight requested for RM56 million for 2008, RM25 million more than the 2007 budget.
In fact, some had said that they would be forced to close down district training centres but Azalina offered them an alternative.
“The district training centres can become part of the Rakan Muda programme while the idea of schools as the base of development is good as this is one way of overcoming the shortage of funds.”
AZALINA will chair a special committee tasked with monitoring the preparation of athletes for the Beijing Olympics.
Others in the committee Olympic Council of Malaysia president Tunku Imran Tuanku Ja’afar, NSC director general Datuk Zolkples Embong, National Sports Institute (NSI) director general Datuk Dr Ramlan Abdul Aziz, three members of the NSC’s board of directors and Beijing Olympics Chef-de-Mission Datuk Ho Koh Chye.