KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 14 — Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu has not ruled out the possibility that the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) may be given the responsibility to manage high-performance sports in the future.

While stressing that the National Sports Council (NSC) would continue to do so at the moment, he confirmed that the matter was being discussed so as to realise the dream of achieving the country’s first Olympic gold medal.

“Cooperation will be stepped up with all sports bodies, including the OCM, to achieve the country’s first Olympic gold medal. It is not just the ministry’s wish, but also that of all Malaysians.

“To achieve that, we need to give OCM a bigger role so that we have a better chance. So, the ministry and the NSC will find a way to share our athletes’ management and training as well as which sports to focus on,” he told a media conference after visiting Wisma OCM here today.

He also sought the assistance of all national sports associations (NSAs) to prioritise sports development and to avoid divisions among the leadership of the associations.

He had earlier held a discussion lasting over an hour with the new OCM executive board which met for the first time today, before visiting the OCM Hall of Fame and gallery.

Ahmad Faizal was also given an introduction regarding the OCM, its charter, the Olympic charter and other matters related to sports events. He also shared the government’s views and aspirations with the national sports body during his visit.

Meanwhile, OCM secretary-general Datuk Mohd Nazifuddin Najib clarified that the council’s goal to manage high-performance sports that will be contested at the 2024 Paris Olympics and the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics were among the issues discussed with Ahmad Faizal.

According to Mohd Nazifuddin, the OCM could plan better and play a bigger role in championing sports such as squash and bowling to be included in the Olympic Games programme as it had good relations at the international stage, including with the International Olympic Council (IOC).

“We will look at every sport in the Olympic programme and plan ahead. For example, in an Olympic cycle, we will plan for all the sports that stand a chance, including new sports like breakdancing and surfing. We will adopt an overall view beyond just the sports that usually contribute medals like badminton, cycling and diving.

“On a policy level, we are in the midst of discussion, regarding capability and funding, we will fine-tune later if we are allowed (to take over),” he said, adding that the NSC would remain responsible for managing athletes for the Asian Games, Commonwealth Games and grassroots programmes. — Bernama