Time to ring the changes, says Pekan

KUALA LUMPUR: As we head into the new year, sports analyst Datuk Dr Pekan Ramli stresses that it is high time that Malaysian sports undergoes a "big transformation" next year to keep it moving in the right direction.

Pekan said Malaysia can no longer afford to continue using the same approach it has in the past to develop and train national athletes at the various levels they are competing at.

This year, the national contingent suffered its worst ever showing at the Cambodia Sea Games (May) after failing to hit its 40 gold target - falling six gold short - and finishing a lowly seventh in the medal tally.

The contingent's overall showing at the Hangzhou Asian Games (Sep-Oct) was also seen as lacklustre and lacking progress.

"We have reached the point where we have to implement a big transformation, we can't keep doing the same things but expect different results," said Pekan when contacted today.

"We need to have specific, long-term programmes tailored to athletes who are competing in the Sea Games, Asian Games, Commonwealth Games and so on.

"We cannot keep relying on the same athletes to deliver results in all the different games.

"There has to be a clear direction and clear key performance indicators (KPI) set for each of these programmes for each competition cycle.

"If we continue to prepare like we do now, our performances will remain the same.

"We need to approach sports like we approach business, have clear long-term goals and get the process right to achieve them."

Pekan added that sports leaders must also be more receptive to constructive criticism and new ideas.

"Although they are at the top, sports leaders should not feel that only their views are correct and others are wrong," said Pekan.

"They must be more open minded and try to consider the views and suggestions provided by others.

"Currently there are some leaders who perceive the views of others as a threat. This should not be happening."

The next Sea Games is scheduled to be held in Thailand in Dec 2025 which gives Malaysia about two years to prepare.

The next Asian (Nagoya) and Commonwealth Games (host yet to be confirmed) will only be held in 2026.

The focus of attention next year will be on the Paris Olympics (Jul 26-Aug 11) where Malaysia will continue its quest to win a first gold medal.

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