It’s back to schools for society promoting Olympism

Sports is not just about being athletes. It is a wide ecosystem that caters for every level of society.

As such, the newly established Malaysian Olympism in Action Society (MOIAS) is eager to educate Malaysians, especially youths, as it embarks on a series of campaigns targeting primary and secondary students within the first quarter of the year.

MOIAS president Noraseela Khalid said efforts to reach out to children aged between 10 and 12 started two weeks ago through a ‘My Sports Life’ campaign that ended yesterday.

Children were encouraged to submit a video of themselves describing their sports idol, playing a sport and sharing why they like the sport.

“It’s all about getting children excited about sports,” said Noraseela, an Olympian and former national hurdler.

“Due to the Covid-19 situation, it’s a challenge to go to the schools physically but we have targeted three schools in Kuala Lumpur that we intend to work with for a start.”

There will also be campaigns for tertiary students and the general public as a build-up to the Tokyo Olympics in July.

“It’s about educating our youths about sports. It’s not about imposing or forcing them to pick up a sport but for them to understand what sports is all about,” Noraseela said.

“Sports isn’t just about being an athlete. For example, for our secondary school participants, we have several programmes lined up, including educating them about sports photography, how to speak confidently by using sports as a topic of discussion and social media branding.

“In secondary school, it’s about knowing your career path, so we hope our programmes will help open their eyes.”

Noraseela said MOIAS was eager to inject the spirit of Olympism into Malaysians.

“It’s about educating them all about sports and the values of sports. It will also give us a good opportunity to highlight our forgotten heroes,” she added.

MOIAS secretary Tay Li Neo explained that the team behind the society comprises former participants of the National Olympic Academy.

“Our society has close to 50 members and was formalised last October. Our annual general meeting was held on Jan 31,” explained Tay, who was heavily involved in tenpin bowling in the past and now is a consultant for sports organisations worldwide.

“We want to see Malaysia become a sporting nation and to do that, we need to promote sports and its values at all levels of society.”

She added most of the members of the society, who hail from various backgrounds, including ministry officials, sports administrators and sports lawyers, had been promoting Olympism in their own way since a decade ago.

“It was last year when we got together and started a webinar series. That got the ball rolling. Due to the (Covid-19) pandemic, people were indoors and we managed to get their attention.

“We grow up thinking we want to be an Olympic athlete but there are many avenues in sports besides being an athlete. We also want to instil positive values among youths in Malaysia,” she added.

MOIAS has also not discounted the possibility of collaborating with other sports bodies and national federations in the near future.