NSC’s gold medal effort to inspire students from athletes’ former schools could turn into annual affair

The faces of the students lit up when they found out that some of the biggest names in Malaysian sports had once studied in their school. The immense pride and joy were also felt by the teachers and district education officers.

These were the strong emotions that were palpable during the National Sports Council’s (NSC) Team MAS Road to Paris 2024 tour, which celebrated the athletes who will take part in the upcoming Paris Olympics and Paralympics.

Hopes are that the Olympic-bound Malaysian athletes will return home with the elusive gold medal from the Summer Games.

The almost month-long tour started on June 10, and ended on June 28. NSC officials covered several schools from Perlis, all the way to Johor, and Sarawak. The programme included 23 schools nationwide, involving some 15,000 students. The students learnt more about their star seniors, life in sports and were treated to quizzes and games.

The overwhelming response from the students and their teachers have prompted the NSC to consider doing this on an annual basis.

Students from SMK Tarat in Serian, Sarawak participate in a quiz.

“The students were super excited and happy. Many of them didn’t realise that our Olympians and Paralympians were their seniors in their schools,” said NSC deputy director-general Ariffin Ghani, who oversaw the programme.

“I must say that this is a good move, and we are really happy with the outcome. As I spoke to the children, I told them that besides adopting a healthy lifestyle, there’s a future in sports.”

Ariffin visited two schools in Sarawak – SMK Tarat in Serian, and SMK Asajaya in Kota Samarahan. Paralympian powerlifter Bonnie Bunyau Gustin studied in SMK Tarat, while para swimmer Nur Syaiful Zulkafli was from SMK Asajaya.

He said the main aim of the programme was to create awareness about Malaysia’s sporting heroes, ahead of the Paris Olympics, and Paralympics. The Olympics will begin on July 26, while the Paralympic Games will start on Aug 28.

“Initially, we didn’t have specific schools, but then the team discussed and decided, let’s go to schools that helped produce our Olympians and Paralympians, first. It’s our way of showing our appreciation and support to the schools that created our stars.

“It’s good if we can do this annually. This is a great way to inspire more young kids to achieve sporting excellence. We would like to cover more locations, including Sabah, in our next round,” he added.

List of schools and athletes who have studied there

SMK Syed Alwi, Perlis (Datuk Abdul Latif Romly; para athlete)
SMK Darul Aman Height, Kedah (Nurul Izzah Izzati Asri; cycling)
SJKC Keat Hwa H, Kedah (Lee Zii Jia and Pearly Tan; badminton)
SMK Bedong, Kedah (S. Suresh; para archery)
SMK Jalan Paya Besar, Kedah (G. Daneshen; para archery)
SMK Lahat, Perak (Mohamad Yusof Hafizi Shaharuddin; para cycling)
SMK Seri Iskandar, Perak (Nur Jannatun Abd Jalil; para archery)
Sekolah Teknik Tanah Merah, Kelantan (Muhammad Ziyad Zolkefli; para athlete)
SMK Sultan Omar, Terengganu (Datuk Azizulhasni Awang; ccyling)
SMK Bukit Mentok Chukai, Terengganu (Nur Aisyah Zubir; cycling)
SMK Beserah, Pahang (Nur Shazrin Latiff; sailing)
SMK Gelang Patah, Johor (Muhammad Aniq Kasdan; weightlifting)
SJKC Wen Hua, Melaka (Toh Ee Wei; badminton)
SMK St. Francis, Melaka (Jonathan Wong; shooting)
SMK King George V, Negeri Sembilan (Chen Tang Jie; badminton)
SMK Darul Ehsan, Selangor (Noor Askuzaimey Mat Salim; boccia)
SMK Sri Sentosa, Kuala Lumpur (Cheah Like Hou; para badminton)
SMK Aminuddin Baki, Selangor (Ariana Nur Diana Mohamad Zairi; archery)
Integrated Islamic School, Selangor (Abdul Razzaq Abdul Rahman; boccia)
SMK Sri Hartamas, Kuala Lumpur (Goh Jin Wei; badminton)
SK St Paul, Sarawak (Bertrand Rhodict Lises; diving)
SMK Tarat, Sarawak (Bonnie Bunyau Gustin; para powerlifting)
SMK Asajaya, Sarawak (Nur Syaiful Zulkafli; para swimming).

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