Lee is gold, but the top brass? — The Malaysian Insider
AUG 7 — Datuk Lee Chong Wei landed this morning to a warm golden welcome, despite the Olympic heartbreak on Sunday.
The badminton champion did not let the country down as he battled all the way to the final only to lose to a better player, the Chinese star Lin Dan, again.
You know who let Malaysia down? It’s the shocking number of sports officials who manage our sportsmen — the ones who select them, train them and accompany them to each and every competition across the world, in this case, the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Here’s the rub. Malaysia has funding for sports, sports schools, dedicated programmes and no shortage of sports officials to manage all of this.
But we have a dearth of talent. Pray tell, who after Lee will take on the mantle and challenge the Chinese in badminton? Will we end up like the Indonesians, as also-rans?
It is ridiculous that one man had to carry the hopes of 28 million Malaysians and this has been the case every four years. We pin our hopes on the few, the rare talents that make it to the world stage.
And when they make it, these officials bask in the shared glory of the moment. But if these sportsmen lose, there will be excuses and a plea to try again and a pledge to do better.
In most cases, the athletes, sportsmen and sportswomen will eventually retire from competitive events. Some will turn to coaching, some will move on.
But the same officials will continue in their positions of comfort and power despite the mediocrity in the results.
Malaysia needs a change in the top brass of sports. We need officials who have heart and smarts to nurture, develop and train our future athletes and sports people.
And we need them to also take the responsibility when there is failure. The old ways are gone. Why should sportsmen and sportswomen carry the burden of our hopes and aspirations?
What about these officials? Shouldn’t they bear the responsibility too, as they are using public funds for their programmes.
Otherwise, there will be no progress and our heartbreak will continue.