Another year has almost come to an end.
2017 has seen exciting times for Malaysian sport as in every year, but this year has been extra special as Malaysia hosted the 29th Southeast Asian Games, after a break of 16 years.
It was an even grander affair as the Games coincided with Malaysia’s 60th Independence Day.
I must congratulate all parties for making these Games a huge success starting from the Ministry of Sports headed by the dynamic Brig. Gen. Khairy Jamaluddin, who was also the chairman of the Malaysia SEA Games Organising Committee (MASOC), additionally the National Sports Council (NSC), National Sports Institute, the National Associations, coaches, officials and more importantly the athletes themselves.
Through the Kita Juara programme, the Malaysian contingent was well prepared and went on to supercede all expectations with a total haul of 145 gold, 92 silver and 86 bronze medals.
With a total count of 323 medals, this is Malaysia’s best-ever finish in the history of the SEA Games.
While we all applaud our gold medal winners, we at Olympic Council of Malaysia, have always maintained that we credit and acknowledge all medallists in all multi-sport Games.
Although official medal tables rank those countries with more gold medals higher, even though the total medal tally is less, we maintain that every medal won is an achievement and should be honoured as in the case of personal best performances or national records, even if the athlete did not win a medal.
With this remarkable achievement under our belt, we cannot rest on our laurels or be content. It is now time to use the SEA Games platform to step up and aim for higher achievements at the Asian and World levels.
2018 is going to be an even more hectic period for Malaysian sports, with the XXI Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia in April and the 18th Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games in August. We also have the XXIII Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang in February, where Malaysia has made history with a qualification in the Men’s Figure Skating competition by Julian Yee.
Additionally, the Youth Olympic Games will be held in Buenos Aires, Argentina in October.
Besides the SEA Games, 2017 saw Malaysia participate in in the 8th Asian Winter Games in Sapporo, Japan in February, 4th Islamic Solidarity Games in Baku , Azerbaijan in May, V Commonwealth Youth Games in Nassau, Bahamas in July and 5th Asian Indoor & Martial Arts Games in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan in September.
OCM has also been busy in organising IOC Relations & Olympic Solidarity Relations and international related events like the Olympic Day 2017 in June, attending the Advance Women in Leadership Forum for Africa and Asia in August, nominating the recipient for the IOC Trophy whose theme for this year
is “Sport Beyond Borders” with SportsUnite as the recipient, and also organising the Advanced Sports Management Course (ASMC), Basic Sports Administrators’ Courses (SAC) as well as the National Olympic Academy Sessions.
The year culminated with the 24th OCM Annual Dinner and Awards Night on Dec 7th at the Tan Sri Hamzah Arena at Wisma OCM, with the awarding of the IOC trophy for ‘Sport Beyond Borders’, Diplomas for the IOC Women and Sport Achievement 2016 and 2017, OCM Women and Sports trophies for 2016 & 2017, Olympian of the Year for 2016 and 2017, and the new induction for 2016 and 2017 to the OCM Hall of Fame.
Indeed it has been a busy and generally fruitful year, with NSAs continuing to work hard to raise the bar for their respective sports.
It is important that NSAs pay emphasis to grassroots development of their respective sports and give ample opportunity for their young athletes to compete in tournaments, gain useful experience and receive the best training possible, for they are the future of Malaysian sports.
NSAs have to make an extra effort to stand on their own feet and keep up with the professional era to ensure that their organisations are well managed with the interest of athletes always at the heart.
2018 will see the election of a new President and Board Members for OCM. I hope that all those who love sport will give the incoming management all the support and assistance that they have given me during the last 19 years or so.
Sport will always be an important part of the fabric of life in Malaysia and also a catalyst for continuing harmony.
I wish one and all a truly Happy New Year and a successful 2018.