Scout potential professional athletes from school levels

DAYS before the 2015 Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games), the nation was rocked by the sudden announcement of Brunei pulling out as host of the 2019 SEA Games.

While some people accept the news with grace and understand that we pulled out due to financial instability in the country, some could not be more surprised as year after year, the performance of our athletes and the local sporting scene has been abysmal.

On the global stage where the world is watching, some of us expect our athletes to shine, only to be disappointed.

Now fast forward four years since that announcement, it is high time we step up our game!

What has been done since then? Have we been preparing our athletes for the upcoming SEA Games or even the Olympics? What measures are taken to breed professional athletes?

These are the kind of questions that should be on the minds of the relevant authorities.

I commend the efforts made by Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Awang Haji Aminuddin Ihsan bin Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Dato Seri Paduka Haji Abidin who at the recent Legislative Council (LegCo) Meeting has shown his support towards the local Esports scene to the point of giving the greenlight of establishing a local Esports Association.

This is a good step towards diversifying our sports scene as Esports was featured as a demo sport at the 2018 Asian Games and will return at the 2019 SEA Games as a medal sport.

In fact, there should be more support towards the general local sports scene as well.

Initiatives must be introduced to breed professional athletes starting from schools.

Sporting officials should start scouting for athletes and even introduce a sport scholarship.

There should also be more sport centres built not just to train athletes, but to prove the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the world that we are still capable of bringing back the glory of the 1999 SEA Games!

– Awangku A