No compromise when it comes to shuttlers’ discipline, says BAM’s deputy president

Athletes are synonymous with discipline. The more hardworking and disciplined they are, the better their results.

However, there are external factors that could affect an athlete’s attitude when it comes to giving his, or her best.

Datuk V. Subramaniam acknowledged that such negative elements could lead to the downfall of an athlete and the sport. As such, the BA of Malaysia (BAM) deputy president stressed that it would never compromise when it comes to laying down the rules and regulations on its national shuttlers.

Subramaniam, who is also BAM’s rules and discipline chairman, said the committee’s main task was to ensure that all of its players and staff adhered to the rules of the national body and their contractual obligations.

“From time to time, we would brief our players and coaches about the dos and don’ts, and their limitations,” said Subramaniam.

“Let’s take an example … gambling is a big no-no. It can lead to other problems in an athlete’s career. So, it’s our job to ensure that they don’t gamble and be tempted by certain people outside (BAM).

There have been allegations of shuttlers being involved in gambling, betting, and match-fixing. Independent players Zulfadli Zulkiffli and Tan Chun Seang were handed 20- and 15-year bans respectively and fined by the Badminton World Federation in 2018 for match-fixing.

Subramaniam admitted that it was almost impossible to monitor the players all the time.

“We can’t stop our players from surfing the Internet or talking over the phone. But we advise them all the time.

“In the sports world, in any country, I do understand that there will always be a group from the outside who will try to deceive and tempt athletes for their benefit.

“It’s difficult for any organisation to completely eradicate disciplinary issues. To achieve results, we all need to work hand in hand … the players, coaches, and even the management.”

Subramaniam, who is the Selangor BA president, said he worked closely with BAM’s other deputy president, Datuk Seri Dr Jahaberdeen Mohamed Yunoos.

Jahaberdeen also serves as the legal committee chairman and is the Kuala Lumpur BA president.

“In the past, there was one committee that oversaw legal issues and discipline. There are now two different committees, but Jahaberdeen, by virtue of him being the legal committee chairman, sits in my committee, while I too, sit in his committee,” said Subramaniam.

“This is so that we are always on the ball. Jahaberdeen and I work closely together. We discuss (matters) and come to a consensus.”

Subramaniam, a seasoned MIC politician, a former senator and Petaling Jaya Municipal Council (now City Council) councillor, added that rules are meant to be followed.

“What the rules say, we follow. It’s clear-cut. If players break the rules, then we get involved. There’s no compromise on that.

“Discipline is the most important thing in their (players’) career. If they don’t respect discipline, then they can get out of line.

“We have brought in the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission to speak about graft. We, at BAM, have also made anti-corruption pledges.”

Subramaniam, who has been with the Selangor BA since 1988, said fans should not jump to conclusions before getting the full picture. The national body, at times, had received criticism from badminton lovers over decisions made against the shuttlers.

“My appeal to fans is, don’t make any judgments before getting the full story. Sympathy often goes to the athletes, but they need to also look at the management’s roles and responsibilities. Only then, can a judgment be made,” he added.

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