From Nursyabiha Sukri
PALEMBANG, Dec 22 (Bernama) — Sports Associations must strengthen their ties with the Education Ministry to produce athletes with calibre to lead the country’s challenge in the World University Games (Universiade) in South Korea, next year.
The quality and performance of students in the Asean region need to be improved or polished although Malaysia finished among the top three nations in the just concluded 17th Asean University Games (AUG) in Palembang, yesterday.
Malaysia won 40 gold, 42 silver and 49 bronze medals behind overall champion Indonesia, the host, who finished with (66 gold, 78 silver, 46 bronze) ahead of Thailand with (53 gold, 34 silver, 27 bronze).
In terms of overall gold medal contribution, aquatics and athletics led the rest of the sports although both did not perform as well as they did in the 16th edition hosted by Laos in 2012.
Despite the two-year ‘preparation’ period, the number of gold medals contributed by aquatics dropped from 25 to 14 (almost 50 percent drop) while the athletics squad managed 7 despite having won 11 gold medals in Laos.
Karate put in a more consistent performance with six gold medals but still fell short of the seven won in Laos while archery’s contribution dwindled to four after winning six gold medals two years ago.
The AUG cannot be seen as a platform for exposure since 30 percent of the Malaysian athletes contingent comprised elite athletes while 70 percent were made up of university students who were making their international debut.
Teams like Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam had also sent students who are involved in high performance sports.
Malaysian contingent’s chef-de-mission (CDM) Datuk Prof Dr Abdullah Mohamad Said suggested that the AUG and Universiade be included in the country’s sports calendar so that athletes at higher learning institutions can look at the games from a different perspective.