When asked about what needs to be done to encourage youths in this country to be involved in sports, ex-Olympian and International Sports Official, Datuk Dr Mani Jegathesan says it is absolutely crucial that we push for a healthy lifestyle, including physical activity, for all Malaysians, especially the youth. “They are our future, life habits and skills are best inculcated in the formative years”, he adds. “A time-tested method for encouraging physical activity is the practice of sport. Sport brings not just the exercise component, but psychological and social benefits as well. Sport is fun, exciting and engaging, and sports can teach us many good values.” It is no surprise that Dr Jegathesan.s view concurs that the schools and the community, in which the youth work and play, would be the best place to strongly advocate this by first making the programmes attractive and compelling to attract the young people. Instead of engaging themselves in some anti-social behaviours, their involvement in all kinds of sports will help develop a healthier generation of young Malaysians with a more confident, competitive and positive outlook in life. Hence, the recent decision by the Education Ministry to slash the annual allocation to the Malaysian Schools Sports Council (MSSM) from RM6 million to RM1.5 million is definitely a bane to the promotion of sports among the young people in the midst of rising anti-social behaviours. Where there used to be 24 sports, catering for the Under-12, Under-15 and Under-18, now a number of these sports have to be slashed to nearly half of the number of sports. A number of sports like handball, rugby, sailing, table tennis, cricket, softball, cross country, chess, bowling, squash and archery have been axed from the programme. Some of these are the sports such as squash, bowling and archery have put Malaysia on the world map, having produced current world squash champion Datuk Nicol David. Both Shalin Zulkifli (Bowling) and Cheng Chu Sian (Archery) had won the recurve individual gold at the recent SEA Games in Laos. Besides, when we talk about the 10 merit points allocated to students to gain entry into local universities, the students, who are active in the 11 sports axed by the MSSM, will be at a greater disadvantage.
In short, before we talk about going for Gold, we should be talking about investing in the development of young sportsmen and women, in the process help the young people at large develop good social and inter-personal soft skills,besides cultivating a healthy eating habit based on good knowledge of nutrition. All this has to begin at the school level, and we can never go wrong if both the government and the parents of these children put serious efforts to encourage their children to actively participate in sports. Sports in Personality Development
Parents, who generally place more emphasis on academic excellence, should realize that their childrens involvement in sports is more than just the ability to play a game. Participation in the sports helps the young people to learn to be in control of various challenging situations and in the process develop a healthy and positive outlook in life. Some of them will eventually learn to be good leaders in their respective fields when they grow up.
Involvement in the sports also helps to boost up both physical and mental stamina in children. Studies have shown that participation in school sports is vital for the development of motor skills besides helping to release endorphins which helps decrease depression and increases energy. Because the young people are taught to accept defeat in life at a very young age, they eventually develop a stronger determination to succeed in their next attempt. They learn to push beyond their human limitations and trust in their ability to break world...