The Star Online > Sports
Monday September 6, 2004
No witch hunt by panel probing Athens failure, says Dr Ibrahim

BY S. RAMAGURU

KUALA LUMPUR: The two-man panel set up to make an in-depth study of Malaysia’s performances at the recent Athens Olympics will not go on a witch hunt or seek to blame any party for the failure.

Instead they will focus on finding out the weaknesses and what are the shortcomings in the athletes’ preparations.

The chairman of the Sports Advisory panel, Datuk Seri Dr Ibrahim Saad, together with a member, Muralee Menon, have been appointed by the Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Azalina Othman Said, to conduct the study.

This came about after the cabinet wanted a more detailed report on the athletes' failure to win a medal at the Athens Games.

The Olympic-bound athletes were funded by under the Gemilang 2006 programme.

Dr Ibrahim said that after interviewing the athletes yesterday, their objective was to find answers for the athletes' failure.

“The reports submitted by the team managers, the associations and other parties are not going to throw any new light on the issue other than stating the obvious,” he said.

“The reports from the team managers are in and I'm sure they have covered their associations' stand as well. But we are not here to only deal with this matter.

“Our task is to talk to the athletes and get their perspective on their preparation and their competitions.

“We have to try and see what others may have missed and put a different spin to it.”

The athletes who attended the meeting at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil yesterday were Bryan Nickson Lomas, Gracie Junita (diving); Mon Redee Sui Txi (archery); Nazmizam Mohamed, Yuan Yufang (athletics); Wong Choong Hann, Roslin Hashim, Lee Chong Wei, Choong Tan Fook, Lee Wan Wah, Chan Chong Ming, Chew Choon Eng, Chin Eei Hui, Wong Pei Tty (Badminton); Ng Shu Wai (gymnastics); Mohamed Faizal Baharom (weightlifting); and Ricky Teh (shooting).

All the athletes who are based overseas were not called. And two others based here who failed to turn up were taekwondo's Elaine Teo and diver Leong Mun Yee.

Dr Ibrahim said that they hope to compile their report within the next few days.

The Gemilang programme began in 2002 and was geared towards preparing athletes for the Olympics and the 2006 Asian Games in Doha.

Under the programme, RM295mil has been budgeted by the government and so far RM105mil has been spent. Of the amount, RM9.7mil was spent on preparing the 26 athletes for the Olympics.

Dr Ibrahim said that this was the first time that the athletes were asked to give direct input in their preparation. “We are no going to play the blame game here. “That is not the objective. We need to overcome weaknesses if there are any and look at the future,” he said.