London panel to boost our Olympic athletes
From Zaharah Othman in London
A SUPPORT group for Malay-sian Olympians would be set up in London in preparation for Olympics 2012.
Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek said the group would be initially known as Support Group for Malaysian Olympians.
The committee would be set up in London as the Olympic Games would be held here, he said after visiting the Nottingham Games organised by Malaysian students here.
"This is important because we should make preparations to build up support for our athletes, how we inform people about the games, where they are held, about tickets and so on.
"These might seem petty but these are what make the difference between getting a gold medal and a silver one, or the difference between getting a medal and not getting a medal at all.
"I would like to invite the Malaysian community in the UK to be prepared for this," he added.
The minister said several groups would be set up and their development and operations would be monitored from time to time.
He also said contributions from everyone, the public and the private sectors, were needed to make this a success.
The visit to the Nottingham University, touted as the second largest "Malaysian city" outside Malaysia, because of its large number of Malaysian students, left the minister very impressed with the success of the annual Nottingham Games organised by Malay-sian students from universities throughout the UK.
This being the 25th year of the Games, there were added activities and festivities.
Sixty contingents from universities around the UK took part. Shabery represented Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
"There are more than 5,000 Malaysian students here today -- that is about half the total Malaysian student population throughout the UK -- a big gathering that should be made an example not only for students overseas, but also students in Malaysia."
He was impressed that the students had taken such initiatives with little help from the government and sponsors.
Their leadership qualities and their oneness reflected the spirit of 1Malaysia, Shabery said.
"I must congratulate them and this should be continued not only here but also in other places."
The minister also spoke about the importance of building a sports culture, which included developing not just sports for getting medals but also sports in terms of nurturing and developing other areas in sports, which included sports science and medicine, sports journalism, developing the skills of sports commentators and the role of the sports cameraman.
"All these require certain skills. We should learn from the people here.
"We already have very good facilities but we need to develop other areas of sports."
During his working visit here, Shabery will also visit the Sports Village in Bath as well as the Lotus plant in Norwich.
Malaysian Games in city
The event, on Saturday, October 31, will see more than 5,000 Malaysian students from 50 UK universities converging on University Park for a day of sports.
High-profile visitors from the Government of Malaysia will also attend.
Student athletes will compete in football, squash, chess, scrabble, netball, snooker, basketball, badminton, volleyball, and table tennis.
As well as sporting events, there will be a Malaysian Food Festival.
The university has long-standing links with Malaysia and was the first UK university to open a branch campus abroad.
The purpose-built campus at Semenyih, 30km south of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, was completed in 2005.