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SPORTS


ARKIB : 08/06/2004

Has the 10th Sukma achieved its objectives?

SEREMBAN June 7 - The 10th Malaysia Games (Sukma) drew to a close on Sunday night but the hosting of such a multi-million ringgit sporting event begs the question - did it achieve its objectives?

Sukma, meant to unearth new talents among state athletes for the future glory of the country, sprang no surprises in terms of results and medal winners.

In most of the disciplines, "established" athletes, namely those who are already representing Malaysia at regional or international levels, have walked away with the glory while the unknowns remain just that - unknown.

The clearest example is in athletics, for instance in the track events, where excellence belongs to a select number of elite athletes who have been trained at specialist centres under the Gemilang 2006 programme.

Where hopes resided that their less glamourous brethren may shine, instead it was a majority of the elite athletes, numbering some 300 in the biennial Games, who walked away with the silverware, not to mention breaking hearts and records along the way.

On a positive note, this does mean that the Gemilang 2006 programme, run by the National Sports Council (NSC) and state sports councils, can be considered a roaring success.

If the success rate can be maintained in events of higher standing, and not just in Sukma, Malaysia's future in sports looks bright.

Indeed, such is the pledge by NSC Director-General Datuk Mazlan Ahmad, who said Sukma was a start-off point for the athletes and those who showed promise would be given more guidance to attain greater heights.

He also said he did not want to see promising and talented athletes disappearing into obscurity and urged them to take steps to move forward.

Malaysian sporting history is dotted with instances of winning athletes, most remarkably female sprinters Nik Nor Azura Nik Mahmood and Petra Nabila Mustafa, who were vanish without a trace once the Games was over.

On the hosting aspect, this edition of Sukma ran quite smoothly even though it was marred by two incidences of violence, namely on the football field and in the pencak silat arena.

Despite the isolated occurences, Negeri Sembilan proved capable of playing hosts to the nation's biggest sporting event and nary a cross word was heard about infrastructure like transportation, food or accommodation.

However, the organisational skills of Malaysians in big events still leaves a lot to be desired with problems cropping up on the distribution of competition schedules, results and gremlins in the technical apparatus.

The host of problems relating to incomplete and forever-changing schedules as well as delayed results causes no end of problems to the media, thus affecting the coverage of such an important local event.

These problems crop up in each Sukma with little or no relief in sight despite the Games reaching the "mature" age of 18 this year.

It is hoped that the next Sukma in Kedah in 2006 will achieve greater achievements in terms of discovering talents and honing skills to bring more sporting glory to the country.

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