Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) president, Tunku Imran Tuanku Ja’afar has reminded all sides and parties not to look down on the country’s national athletes based on the Malaysian contingent’s achievements at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia that ended on Sunday. (Pix by OWEE AH CHUN)

KUALA LUMPUR: Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) president, Tunku Imran Tuanku Ja’afar has reminded all sides and parties not to look down on the country’s national athletes based on the Malaysian contingent’s achievements at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia that ended on Sunday.

Tunku Imran said that even though there are those who feel that the national contingent’s performance at the Games is a sign of failure because they finished the campaign failing to meet the target of finishing in the top 10 of the medals tally, the national athletes are actually still very much capable of creating shocks at the upcoming Asian Games in Indonesia come August.

“OCM never set such a target in the first place and I don’t think that there are any sides or parties who have set a target for our national athletes at the Asian Games, as the athletes have not been selected or confirmed for participation at the Games yet, and even the draws have not been announced. What is certain is we hope our athletes will perform better compared to the last Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea.

“I am confident that our national athletes will do their best, so please do not look down on them. They are more than capable of causing upsets such as during the Kuala Lumpur Sea Games where we set a target of 111 gold medals but instead we went way past that (145),” said Tunku Imran at a press conference after chairing OCM’s 30th executive committee meeting here earlier today (Tuesday).

The Malaysian contingent’s haul of seven gold medals in Gold Coast compared to six won at the Glasgow edition four years earlier has resulted in criticisms with some voicing out that it is not that great an achievement.

UiTM’s Sports Science Faculty senior lecturer, Mohd Sadek Mustaffa, said that if the national contingent’s performance in Gold Coast is anything to go by, then there are worse things that will happen when the Malaysian contingent competes at the Asian Games, if the athletes preparations are not improved on through the much criticised Podium Programme.

Tunku Imran, who will be stepping down and will not be defending his top post at OCM’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) on May 5, has however defended the Podium Programme run by the National Sports Institute (NSI).

“The Podium Programme is a successful programme, as it is a long term programme to safeguard and take Malaysian sports to greater heights of achievement. You cannot produce Olympic champions, world champions and Commonwealth Games champions overnight. For me, the Podium Programme, Kita Juara programme and the national trainee development programme are going on well,” said Tunku Imran.

Meanwhile, Tunku Imran also announced that National Sports Council (NSC) director-general Datuk Shapawi Ismail has turned down the offer to become the national contingent’s deputy Chef-de-Mission for the Asian Games in Indonesia, and a suitable alternative replacement will be announced in the near future.

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