THE euphoria of the London 2012 Olympics has ended. Some of the athletes who represented the country at the highest level of sport may retire.
Now, the retired ones can join the Malaysian Olympian Association (MOA), which was registered in 2003, with a pro tem committee assigned to formulate the constitution and logo, and organise activities for former Olympians.
The committee organised a "Dream Camp" by bringing in psychologists, nutritionists, parents and talented youth, including former Olympians, to share their knowledge, skills and experiences with the youth to inspire a generation of athletes.
The association started off well by having an annual dinner and providing financial assistance to ex-Olympians in dire straits.
However, in the past six years, the association has been inactive.
The current president must get hold of former Olympians, who are also stakeholders of the association, to hold a meeting and form a new committee to map out activities for the coming year.
Former Olympians, numbering about 340, are discontented and want the association to get its house in order. They feel neglected.
Their services are not recognised by the government in terms of contributions and sacrifices rendered to the nation in sport at the Olympic level. They have become "unsung heroes" to the nation.
In India or Pakistan, former Olympians carry business cards stating "ex-Olympian" and get various benefits in terms of jobs and discounts.
Some of our ex-Olympians can still contribute to the nation as sport journalists, pundits or serve as coaches or sport administrators at the state or national level to develop their chosen sport.
However, nothing much has been happening to reactivate MOA in order for them to contribute actively to the development of sport.
At the recent London Olympics, we saw former Olympians from various countries actively involved in administration or coaching the national teams.
Sergey Bubka, the world record holder for pole vault, serves the International Association of Athletics Federation as a council member.
Many of our ex-Olympians hold coaching certificates and level three sport science qualifications, but their services are often ignored.
When Olympians retire from sport, there is no educational goal or a career path plan initiative undertaken by the Youth and Sports Ministry or MOA to assist them with career counselling.
Many of them face health, financial or employment problems in later years.
Some have financial difficulties in sustaining themselves or supporting their families, especially those from the private sector with low incomes and with school-going children to support.
The National Athletes Welfare Foundation, which was started in 2008, offers group life insurance and monetary assistance for deaths, hospitalisation, natural disasters and disability.
There was a case in which a former Olympian, upon his retirement from the civil service, had difficulties getting a job after having represented the country in hockey at the 1975 Kuala Lumpur World Cup, where Malaysia finished fourth. He ended up being a security guard.
We do not want to see this happening to our national heroes. Wake up, MOA, and take care of our sportsmen and sportswomen, who have served the nation well although they may not have won medals.
Sathasivam Sitheravellu, Seremban, Negri Sembilan