SHAH ALAM, Malaysia’s young athletes should be given the opportunity to represent the country at the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games which is a launch pad for bigger events like the Asian, Commonwealth and Olympic Games, said Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) former president, Tunku Tan Sri Imran Tuanku Ja’afar.
He supported the suggestion by Youth and Sports Minister, Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman, to increase their participation as the next step from the Malaysian Games (Sukma) and Malaysian University Games, adding that elite athletes should set their sights beyond regional games.
“Always good to have youngsters in the SEA Games; they will strive harder and learn more than the experienced ones. Only 11 countries participate in the SEA Games. In some events, just four or five countries, too.
“The quest for a gold medal is not the important aspect in the SEA Games. This has become the norm because our politicians and leaders always talk about being top of the chart in the SEA Games.
“They should understand that spending money on young athletes gives them the opportunity to test themselves against other athletes, said the SportExcel chairman, adding that the same attitude must be adopted for the national games (Sukma) with states focusing on developing student-athletes under 18.
His comments were given after an event to present funds totalling RM54,000 to 41 outstanding junior athletes from nine sports for achievements in 2019, today.
A pledge signing ceremony between SportExcel, the National Sports Council and Milo was also held.
SportExcel is a non-profit organisation that has been contributing to junior development since 1992.
Source: BERNAMA (News Agency)