BY: Michelle Liew
If there is one thing that unites Malaysians everywhere, it has to be sports.
Our patriotism shines through when our national athletes take on the international arena and nothing feels better than having our national anthem being played on the podium. With Malaysians carving their names in major sports such as badminton, squash, diving and many more, it is undeniable that the sports industry plays a key role in the development of our country.
During the National Sports Day celebrations held by the Ministry of Youth and Sports (KBS) last weekend, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced plans to increase women’s participation in sports, discover new talents, and generate economic growth through the sports sector.
“We hope to show people that it is possible to generate substantial income from sports,” said Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu.
As many are still unaware of the great opportunities within the sports industry, the ministry has hopes to change that via better support and awareness. This would indirectly help generate self-income for athletes as well as boost the country’s economic growth.
Faizal also believes that the ministry will be able to focus on the welfare of athletes.
“I always remind our current (batch of) top athletes that now is the time to monetise their popularity. Their (personal) brand can bring profits not only for themselves but the sport they represent,” said Faizal.
“Of course, we also care greatly about the welfare of our former athletes, and we often encourage and also guide them to be involved in businesses within the sports industry,” he added.
The ministry launched an all-new Talent Identification and Development Programme (MyTID) to find prospective athletes in the nation. Through a partnership with the Ministry of Education (MOE) and teachers in schools, MyTID will utilise technology to help the ministry identify students talented in sports, from as young as seven years old.
“Teachers will be able to key in information about students with potential into the database. For example, if the ministry wants to find a student, aged below 12, who can clock 12 seconds in the 100m event, we would be able to find information on the student with just a single click,” Faizal added.
The programme will also involve 500 trained and experienced coaches known as Talent Eagles.