Sunday, December 4, 2016

Sports: Too many cooks spoil the the soup...

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful; blessings and peace be upon Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.


The Declining Day (Al-'Asr)
1. By the declining day,
2. Lo! Man is in a state of loss,
3. Save those who believe and do good works, and exhort 
one another to truth and exhort one another to endurance.

DATUK Abu Samah Abd  Wahab is a big name in Malaysian sports. He is Malaysian National Cycling Federation (MNCF) President for the past 26 years (since 1990). 

Eventhough we (the writer and Abu Samah) have known each others for many years, I had never interviewed him for my articles simply because I do not not write about sports.

A few days ago when I encountered him at a 'masjid' in Melaka, while waiting for the 'kuliah maghrib-isyak' (lesson between dusk and late evening prayers) to begin, I persuaded him to talk about 'sports and politics'.

I knew this gentleman whom I respected like my father, is now involved in a controversy after authorities including Youth and Sports Minister, Khairy Jamaluddin lambasted him for not seeking approval to bid as host of the 2018 Asian Track Cycling Championship (ACC).

Speaking during the prize giving ceremony for a National Sports Day event in Putrajaya recently, Khairy mentioned that he was not aware of the bid, and is puzzled by Abu Samad’s ignorance of the procedure.

“Datuk Abu Samah has been the president of MNCF for 26 years and thus must be aware of the Sports Development Act 1997,” he said.

This matter is in violation of Section 33 of the Sports Development Act 1997, which requires the approval of the minister for organising international events. 

Khairy said he had asked the Sports Commissioner, Datuk Zaiton Othman to gather information about the matter for further action.

“According to section 33 of the Sports Development Act, no person shall bid to host any international competition in Malaysia without the written approval of the minister,” he added.

Abu Samah seemed relaxed when the writer asked him about the controversy but was quick to point up that section 33 of the Sports Development Act 1997 states that 'NO PERSON' shall bid to host any international competition in Malaysia...saying: "We (MNCF) is an authorized body and not a person, thus we are not in the wrong."

Recently during a press conference at the height of the controversy, Abu Samah said he is not aware that he has to notify and go through proper procedures before bidding as host but hopefully all parties are willing to compromise as Malaysia has been awarded the host for 2018 Asian Track Cycling Championship – which will be held at Velodrom Rakyat in Ipoh.

Talking about the development of sports in the country, Abu Samah who is also the highest ranking official of cycling associations of Asia and Asean, has this to say: "Too many politicians involving in sports associations could jeopardize our sports standards." 

Perhaps it fits the English saying, 'too many cooks spoil the soup. In means when there are too many people (for example politicians) involved in trying to do the same thing, so that the final result will not be good.

In today's fast moving communication technologies, actions and conducts by sports leaders are followed closely by the public; thus those who portrayed 'ill mannered ways' and are often 'at loggerheads' among themselves are looked down by societies.

If officials 'fight' among themselves, sportsmen and sportswomen would loose focus; their contributions to the development of  their fields would be jeopardized. Some 'fight' for their personal interest including in politics; their actions fit the Malay proverb 'ada udang di sebalik batu' (they have their own motives) by involving in sports.

Abu Samah in an interview with the press some time ago, admitted that MNCF had and have many times faced tribulations to the extend of facing disintegration and there were squabbles among officials but the end results matured it to move on for the betterment of the sports.

Malaysian cycling had many times made the nation proud; among the latest was when its 'cycling boy' Azizulhasni Awang pedals his way to a bronze medal medal in Rio de Janeiro Olympics last August. He won the first ever medal by Malaysian cyclists in the men's keirin event and was glad to dedicated his Rio Olympics bronze medal to all Malaysians.

Many years ago, Abu Samah said one of highest aim in sports was to see a Malaysian cyclist won a medal at the Olympics but he did mentioned about its 'colour' whether gold, silver or bronze; and now after Azizul had 'grabbed' the bronze, would he said goodbye as the Number One Man in MNCF?

Perhaps this 'determine' gentleman would not stop at 'bronze' but go for 'gold' even though he is now 75; and at the Tokyo Olympics in four years time he would be 79 but by looking at his 'youthful' and 'energetic' form; Abu Samah, 'insya-Allah' (God Willing) will be around to help cyclists and Malaysian as general fulfill their dreams! 

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