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KUALA LUMPUR, May 4 -- A national taekwondo coach, who is alleged to have humiliated a woman exponent with abusive words, has been temporarily suspended from handling the team pending an investigation, said National Sports Council (NSC) director-general Datuk Ahmad Shapawi Ismail.
He said the coach had also been asked to leave the athletes’ hostel in Bukit Jalil as a preliminary action, besides admitting that this was not the first time there had been a misunderstanding between the coach and the kyorugi (combat) athlete.
He said that the NSC and Taekwondo Malaysia (TM) would obtain all information regarding the incident and carry out a joint investigation so as to reach the best solution.
He said that it was his own decision to take early action by suspending the coach from handling the team after receiving a directive from Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican.
“For now, the training programme will be handled by the existing assistant coach. We have heard from one side, we must be fair to all parties so, InsyaAllah, we will try to resolve this issue as best as we possibly can to ensure our team can train well,” he said when met by reporters at the Youth and Sports Ministry’s National COVID-19 Immunisation Programme today.
According to Ahmad Shapawi, this is not the first time that there has been dissatisfaction between the athlete and coach, with a previous complaint having been settled internally through discussions with TM.
This time, however, he said the matter was more serious and the woman athlete’s family had also lodged a police report.
“I am not denying that sometimes coaches will issue a challenge or release their anger towards athlete so that they can learn to face pressure and perform well. But as a professional and experienced coach, he should have handled the situation better,” he said.
The athlete’s sister had posted on social media that the coach had humiliated her younger sister in front of the national team at a meeting on the night of April 23 and threatened to get her eliminated from the national squad.
A police report lodged by the athlete's father regarding the alleged abuse also went viral and caught the attention of Reezal Merican yesterday and the minister then instructed the NSC to take immediate action.
Meanwhile, Reezal Merican said although his ministry took a serious view of the matter, he does not want to make it look as if every time such an incident occurs, he will need to step in to resolve it.
“I cannot take this complaint made by the athlete lightly and this is not the first time either, so because of that I have asked the NSC to take action. I am still confident that TM can reach a solution on this matter.
“I also take not and ask that cases like this do not jeopardise the preparation and development of the sport of taekwondo in the country, whether it is to get ready for championships like the SEA Games and Asian Games,” he said after receiving his second dose of COVID-19 vaccine jab with athletes and officials involved in Tokyo 2020.