15/06/2024 03:46 PM

SUNGAI PETANI, June 15 (Bernama) -- The Ministry of Youth and Sports (KBS) has urged all state governments to invest in the development of new talent to produce a pool of star athletes in swimming and diving in the near future.

Minister Hannah Yeoh said that so far only two states, Sabah and Sarawak, have been investing heavily in the development of the two sports.

“We have seen that diving is a sport that brings many medals for Malaysia … now two states, namely Sabah and Sarawak, spend a lot of money on coaches to produce new talent … Sarawak has up to six coaches, (in contrast) some states have no coaches.

“I have visited Perlis and Kedah, and there are many young children who are interested in swimming and diving. But what we need to is continuity in cooperation between the National Sports Council (NSC) and states … every state needs to invest money for coaches and other facilities,” she said after attending the 2024 Swimming and Water Safety Accreditation Programme at the Sungai Petani Club here today.

Hannah said several states have no programmes for the two sports, and it becomes a problem when they want to compete at the Malaysia Games (SUKMA) level.

“When there is no coach, it means there is no investment to produce athletes representing the state. When there are not enough athletes representing states, for example in SUKMA women's diving events at least six states are needed, that category will be dropped from the Games.

“When the event is scrapped, it means there are no winners at the national level and subsequently no athletes representing this sport at the international level,” she said.

Hannah hoped that more Members of Parliament would use their allocations to increase sports programmes in their respective areas.

“The Kota Melaka parliamentary constituency in Melaka, for example, uses its own allocation to hold additional swimming programmes.

“Malaysia used to bring back a lot of medals (in swimming and diving). Now, we want to revive the golden age for these sports,” said Hannah, who hopes that in the next five to 10 years, more backup swimmers and divers at national and state levels can be unearthed.

Hannah was happy with the ecosystem for swimming in Kedah, describing it as very promising because there are 13 swimming clubs actively helping to conduct talent development programmes in the state.


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