* Schools are gold mine for sports – Frankie Fredericks
* Go back to schools to churn out athletes
Former Namibian world champion Frankie Fredericks was a man in a hurry but managed to spare minutes on the sidelines of the International Olympic Committee’s 128th Session at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre on Sunday.
The well-liked 47-year-old, who is visiting Malaysia for the third time, has been an IOC member since 2004, wants to play his part to take away poverty through sports and stop the present craze of Playstation, Facebook and Instagram – thanks to modern technology.
“Go back to schools…this is where the talent is. School is what changed my life…I was poor and just wanted to get out of poverty. You need to start in schools if you don’t want to lose the young generation to internet. Internet is big setback to sports,” said Fredericks whose first visit to Malaysia was for the 1998 Commonwealth Games.
This is a strong message to the Malaysian Athletics Federation (MAF). Of late Malaysian athletics has taken a dive and is a cause for concern, especially when Malaysia will host the next edition of the SEA Games in 2017.
“I battled on many fronts….from poverty to being shunned from competitions. But I was determined to get out of poverty to make a name for myself through sports,” added Fredericks – four-time Olympic medallist, winning the 100m and 200m silver medals at the Barcelona Olympics (1992) and Atlanta Olympics (1996).
“The development of athletics needs to start at the school level, because an athlete’s base starts there. The Malaysian federation must find a way to attract the younger generation to the tracks again, if not we will lose them to many distractions like Playstation and Facebook.
“If a small country like Jamaica can produce world class athletes, why can’t Malaysia that has all the facilities. Why is Malaysia not doing it,” questioned Fredericks who started his sporting career through football.
Although he is no more running Fredericks said: “To come back as an administrator and give guidance to budding talent is one way of repaying what I got.”
“School changed my life in sports. Although I was poor, sports was my outlet to escape the struggles in life and athletes in Malaysia who are financially challenged can use sports and athletics to get out of poverty.”
The computer graduate called on the MAF to analyse where young athletes want to be in 10-20 years. They (MAF) have a role to play its role in churning out new talents.
Frederick was full of praise for the way Malaysia organised the IOC’s 128th Session