Spirit of Olympism ride an eye opener for Olympians

The Spirit of Olympism fundraising campaign is halfway through its journey.

Yet, it has already turned out to be an eye-opener of sorts for those involved.

As avid cyclist Alex Goh reached Muar yesterday in a bid to help the Malaysia Olympians Association (MOA) spread the message of Olympism, it is the conversations among those who turned up to celebrate Goh, that continue to linger.

MOA president Noraseela Khalid, who was in Port Dickson and Melaka to greet Goh, said several interesting questions were posed by the youths, young athletes, and college students, who turned up to greet Goh at the respective venues.

“In Melaka, I asked the group we met if they could name any Malaysian Olympian. They struggled to do so,” said Noraseela.

“They too, admitted that they don’t know much about sports. There were those who also felt that sports development in Malaysia was lacking, which is why we don’t produce many champions.”

Also present in Melaka to greet Goh yesterday was Olympic Council of Malaysia vice-president, Datuk Nur Azmi Ahmad.

Goh (on bicycle) joined by Noraseela (third from Goh’s right) and Nur Azmi (second from Goh’s right) at the Urban Tranformation Centre in Melaka.

Noraseela added the fundraising campaign had also given her and her team the opportunity to meet up with several past athletes.

“Among those who joined us in Port Dickson were S. Kuhan (hockey) and his family, R. Mogan (athletics), K. Saravanan (taekwondo) and S. Vasu (athletics). We spoke about diversity when we were active in sports, which is severely lacking today.

“Conversations also revolved around the welfare of athletes once they retired. This has motivated us to try and get something done to ensure that the welfare of former athletes, and Olympians, are taken care of.”

While Goh will end his journey in Johor Bahru on Saturday, Noraseela admitted more work needs to be done to promote the spirit of Olympism and to help the nation create more Olympians.

“We need to understand that in order to promote the spirit of Olympism and to start creating Olympians, we need to start from the very bottom. This also means acknowledging the work of coaches and educators.

“We need to ask ourselves, is the education system really helping? There are some passionate teachers who spend their own money to promote sports. There’s also minimal funding to organise sports at the lower levels.

“Hannah Yeoh (the Youth and Sports Minister) wants MOA to draw up a plan on how to create Olympians. That’s good, but the priority should be on growing our pool of talent. We need to see the participation of more people in sports, and look at the grassroots.

“This involves many stakeholders and other ministries,” she added.

Twentytwo13 is the partner for The Spirit of Olympism fundraising campaign that was launched over the weekend. The other partners are Haruka Bakery, WCT Malls Management, and Heriot-Watt University.

Supporters include the Malaysian Olympism in Action Society, Terramed Physio and Rehab, and Liquid Marketing.

Well-wishers can contribute to the fund when they meet Goh at the various stops.

Alternatively, those who want to contribute to MOA can do so by banking in the funds to:

Public Bank Bhd
Account number: 3107929130
Reference: OlympismFundraisingMOA

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