Squash, Asiad’s biggest winner, stepchild of Malaysian sports

Before you jump on the hype, it’s worth considering. Is it time to worry about Malaysian squash, which is ironically becoming more popular?

Do we really appreciate the amazing victories of male and female athletes at the Asian Games?

Or will it be a case that nothing matters except the three squash gold medals that have helped Malaysia finish in the top five at the previous Olympics?

It’s time to face the reality that our squash is at a critical juncture.

To be honest, squash is a non-Olympic sport, but it is the stepchild of Malaysian sports.

I fear we will squander this golden opportunity and once again fail to appreciate the talent and dedication of our existing and up-and-coming players.

There are serious fundamental problems with the overall structure of sports in Malaysia, and a frustratingly common story is that funding from the National Sports Council (NSC) is limited.

Oddly, while the country is doing well on the world stage, squash continues to bear the brunt of funding, even as the sports sector’s revenues have slumped.

When the Squash Racket Association of Malaysia (SRAM) started its own activities, it was folded.

As an example, the Board of Internal Revenue (LHDN) denied a tax refund to the CIMB Foundation, which has supported youth development for over 15 years. All team members in Hangzhou are his CIMB babies.

Squash was once thought to be an elitist sport, but that foolish view is now putting the CIMB program at risk.

CIMB Foundation’s funding for squash has decreased from RM1.6 million a year to just barely RM400,000, a 75% reduction as a result of LHDN’s policies. This policy affects not just squash, but all sports that receive this type of funding.

Nothing destroys years of social and sporting progress like ignorance. There’s nothing like stupidity to undermine a company’s efforts to develop champions.

When the CIMB Foundation was informed by LHDN that it could not apply for tax relief for the Junior Development Program, it appealed to then Minister of Finance Tengku Zafrul Aziz.

The former CIMB CEO, an avid squash player, turned it down. Blind soccer, tennis and basketball were also affected by this decision.

Junior development suffered a further blow as initiatives under the Ministry of Higher Education and SRAM failed.

Universiti Malaya (UM) was to be the center of excellence for the program, but its sports department did nothing for three years. About RM200,000 per year disappeared.

What we do ourselves

There was a time when SRAM’s head coach and general manager would remove players from the first team if they decided to further their education.

The situation has arisen as former SRAM chairman Van Ying Hau and Nick Rajine Adam Dowd have made it their central focus to ensure that as many young athletes as possible have access to some form of higher education. has changed.

The CIMB Foundation has provided overseas university scholarships to Hangzhou Asian Games gold medalists S. Sivasangari and Ng Aing Yeo to ensure they receive both the best possible training and university degrees.

A quick mind is just as important as physical attributes, and at least 50 Malaysian athletes, past and present, have benefited from full scholarships from American universities. Many students have played squash at schools such as Yale University, Cornell University, Harvard University, George Washington University, and Trinity University.

Each time they faced a new challenge, they learned and adapted well, developing new qualities against the world’s best squash players.

The Malaysian team in Hangzhou was excellent and duly rewarded them after years of sacrifice. Their thirst for fame is so deep that even bureaucracy and flagrant insensitivity to the importance of sport as nation-builders cannot stand in their way.

It is shameful to compare the time they spend representing the country and the benefits they receive afterwards with that of politicians who serve for 3-4 years and do nothing to bring glory to Malaysia.

Pensions for politicians should be used for the later years of athletes, such as the squash players who won the Asian Games.

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of FMT.

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