Changes, things will always be the same

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JAN 14 — When something is not doing well, we introduce changes.

When something is doing well, we implement more changes.

Even when nothing is happening, we will still say change-lah.

We love changes, whether it makes any sense or otherwise. The question remains — will the changes solve the very many issues at hand?

Many new direction, directives and policies have been implemented at various levels within the local sports scene. We had the implementation of the 1Student 1Sport policy by the Education Ministry in 2011. It was to see the participation of more students in sports. I, among the very many, was sceptical over the new directive for a similar policy was seen in the 1990s where every student was supposed to partake in one club, one uniformed body and one sporting activity. Yet, it did not address the fact that students were very much academically inclined and the lack of playing space and equipment further frustrated the cause.

It is of no different now.

A KL-based schoolteacher, when met up recently, said: “The fact remains our school does not have a field. We do not have adequate playing space and equipment. This leaves a huge bulk of the students sitting at the sidelines. On paper they are participating in a particular sport for a solid hour but in reality they spend less than 10 minutes sweating it out.”

Then we have the issues at the national level. The FA of Malaysia, despite the very many meetings, ideas and years of experience organising the M-League, were still unable to provide the fixtures of the new season in advance. The schedule for the 2014 M-League season was only released on January 8 — nine days before the Super and Premier Leagues kick off.

Why the delay?

Then we have the Badminton Association of Malaysia. Despite the constant talk of bridging the gap between the junior and elite teams and introducing changes internally, the fact remains the sport will be wiped out from our backpages for at least a decade the minute world No 1 Lee Chong Wei hangs his racquet for good. What happened to the grand plans or unearthing the next best Malaysian shuttler?

Speaking about national associations, Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin would surely be in for a huge surprise as the Olympic Council of Malaysia were scheduled to provide statistics over the poor performances at major sporting events when they meet on Thursday. In short, we have not been progressing in most sports despite the increase in funds and new ideas.

National Sports Associations (NSAs) have been under-performing despite injecting “fresh methods” — may it be in the form of leadership or policies. Instead the stakeholders ought to analyse the issues, from lack of playing space to promoting a sporting culture, before coming up with a logical and workable solution.

The millions allocated — to schools or sports associations — should be spent on ensuring athletes get proper equipment, enjoy a good support system and work in a sporting environment. They should not be used as pawns by the top brass or be abused for political mileage.

Schools and NSAs are responsible for the development of the sport in the country. There is a need to progress and it is not just about the number of gold medals but also the number of people participating in the sport, how the sport has influenced the masses to promote a health lifestyle and to mould a large pool of quality athletes.

Having seen many changes in my 14 years of journalism, sadly change is a word that has been loosely used to address any situation.

The late Tupac Shakur, had in his song Changes, sang: “that’s just the way it is, things will never be the same”. In this case, it’s more of “that’s just the way it is, things will ALWAYS be the same”.

* This is the personal opinion of the columnist.

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