KBS wants sports talent search to continue at state level

THE Ministry of Youth and Sports (KBS) aims to ensure that talent search and development programmes continue at the state level, particularly for sports that have the potential to win medals on the international stage.

Minister Hannah Yeoh (picture) said that sports such as cycling and swimming are among those that have shined at the Olympics, Commonwealth Games and Asian Games but these sports require new talents to maintain their continuity.

“I have requested during the SUKMA (Malaysia Games) meeting for all state Youth and Sports executive councillors (Exco) to give equal importance to women’s sports. If the State Sports Councils neglect or do not allocate a budget for women’s sports, our talents are wasted.

“I hope all states will focus on finding coaches and provide special programmes for diving. It is a waste if we stop at Pandelela and Dhabitah (Datuk Pandelela Rinong and Nur Dhabitah Sabri),” she told a press conference after visiting the swimming pool at the Tuanku Syed Putra Sports Complex here today.

Hannah emphasised that information dissemination to the public regarding sports programmes must be increased, especially for sports less highlighted in schools, such as swimming and cycling.

Additionally, Hannah urged all state governments to allocate sufficient funds for their sports portfolios to support sports development and talent search.

“I believe each state has enough funds to hire coaches for events like diving. So, I have requested in planning the budget for next year to ensure that the sports and youth portfolios at the state level are prioritised.

“I think it is a wake-up call when Pandelela and Dhabitah did not qualify for the Olympics. Sports follow a very simple formula: you invest in a sport, and you see the outcome. But we cannot always rely on Pandelela and Dhabitah…we need to produce new athletes.

“Talent search is very important, which is why I say the states, and all Chief Ministers and Menteris Besar must invest money in the sports portfolio. I have heard that some states have a budget of less than RM1 million for the sports portfolio. How can the Youth and Sports Exco implement programmes with less than RM1 million?” she added. — BERNAMA / pic MEDIA MULIA