Scuba diving off Langkawi Island

Monday, February 22, 2010

MSSM an important platform for youngsters

The Star 4th Feb 2010

MSSM an important platform for youngsters

REFERRING to the article “Much discontent over decision to drop 11 sports from MSSM calendar” (The Star, Jan 2), I wish to highlight that even diving and water polo are excluded from the MSSM calendar.

As a parent of an athlete who is a diver and is affected by the MSSM decision, it breaks my heart to see how devastated young athletes are to have their dreams shattered.

The divers train four to five hours a day, six days a week, 52 weeks a year, including public holidays and school holidays. They don’t get to attend any other school co-curricular activities. They don’t get to join us for family outings or any other social events that normal kids enjoy.

But the sacrifice is worth it when they do well in national sports events like the MSSM. To them, winning at the MSSM is akin to the taste of success at the bigger stages of the SEA Games, Asian Games or even the Olympics.

To many, it is at these national age-group events that decisions are made to go all the way in sports. They dream of emulating Pandelela Rinong who won a medal at the World Championship, or Bryan Nickson and Yeoh Ken Nee who helped Malaysia win six gold medals at the SEA Games.

Despite all the talk about developing sports at the grassroots level and all the grand plans to capture our first Olympic gold medal, what message are we sending to these committed, young athletes when we drop national sports events like the MSSM?

We believe the resources are there, it is really a question of priority and we hope the Education Ministry will reconsider its decision of dropping these sports events and make a difference in the lives of our future champions.


Shah Alam.