When you have officials who are not coaches or officials who were never winners during their times being athletes, this is what you get - "green hearted" officials (officials with no common sense and make stupid decisions). This often happens in sports bodies or sports associations.
Yesterday, the Malaysian 4x400m men's quartet won the SEA games gold medal in Palembang. Nobody expected them to win. They were not supposed to be in Palembang in the first place because they didn't qualify on merit. Their times were not up to the mark and were categorized in the B division. But somebody sent them to Palembang a day before the event, the 4x400m relay without the coach - presumably because of lack of fund - and these guys ran their hearts out and won the GOLD medal for Malaysia.
What really angered everybody was that, they were sent home on the very next flight - without even have time for them to receive their medals... The prize giving ceremony was in the evening and their flight was in the morning. How did this happen? Were the officials blind or stupid? There are so many MAAU (Malaysian Amateur Athletics Union) officials in Palembang on holidays...
Today, it's written in every newspaper in Malaysia about this "SHAMEFUL" incident:
Quartet win surprise gold but have to fly home before medal ceremonyPALEMBANG: Veteran hurdler Noraseela Khalid clinched her fourth 400m hurdles SEA Games gold medal and immediately vented her outrage at the shocking manner the men’s 4x400m gold medal winning team had been treated by the Malaysian Amateur Athletic Union (MAAU).
The unheralded Malaysian quartet of S. Kannathasan, P. Yuvaraaj, Schzuan Ahmad Rosely and Mohd Yunus Lasaleh won the gold on Monday but flew home without receiving their medals because they had been booked on a flight home yesterday afternoon. The prize giving ceremony for the event was held yesterday evening.
The quartet, who had initially been dropped and only flew in on Saturday after somebody had a rethink, pulled off a stunning victory.
Clearly, nobody had expected them to win anything, least of all MAAU.
Having already treated them so poorly, the quartet did not even have their coach in Jakarta, the ultimate insult was to deprive the four men of their moment of glory.
Team manager Rajemah Sheikh Ahmad said they had tried to get their flight rescheduled but failed.
“There were too many people leaving and all flights were fully booked,” she said.
But that did not wash with Noraseela who attributed the foul-up to MAAU’s poor planning.
“This is shameful, They delivered gold for the country and were not even allowed to enjoy it,” an indignant Noraseela fumed.
“The athletes are suffering because of the bitter power struggle and bickering within MAAU. This has to stop right now or we athletes can never improve. Malaysian athletics will continue to deteriorate as a result.
“It breaks my heart to see the relay boys flying home without collecting their medals. This is so cruel. How do you think they must feel?
Is this the way to treat those who bring glory to the nation?”
Noraseela clearly took exception to the fact that the athletes have to go home immediately after their event while the officials stay on until the end of the Games.
“How is athletics in Malaysia ever going to improve if those in power only care about themselves and not for the athletes? There have been a lot of issues in the MAAU, like athletes missing dope tests and of irresponsible coaches,” she said.
“There isn’t even a proper training programme and athletes get abandoned when they are injured. I’m really disappointed at the state of affairs.
“But I’m not going to give up athletics because of this. I’ll continue to run for as long as I can.
“I’m probably reaching the end of my career but I really want to compete in the Olympics before I retire. I hope MAAU will be able to help me, Roslinda (Samsu) and (Lee) Hup Wei qualify for London.”
The 32-year Noraseela clocked a season best 57.41 to win the gold but admitted that even she was surprised at winning so comfortably.
In the NST today:
SEA GAMES: Golden Noraseela takes a swipe at MAAUNoraseela Khalid, immediately after winning her fourth Sea Games 400-metre hurdles, launched a scathing attack on the Malaysia AAU (MAAU) for the association's state of affairs that has plagued the sport.
Noraseela said there are too many problems in MAAU and that the association needs a major shake-up if athletes are to be safeguarded.
The hurdler cited the shoddy treatment the winning 4x400m quartet suffered at not even being allowed to receive their medals because they had to go home.
She alleged that MAAU officials have been humiliating the athletes and have never looked after their welfare.
"There are too many problems in MAAU and there must be a major change in the association. The athletes are being humiliated and their futures will be buried if the association does not undergo major changes," said the 33-year-old Noraseela.
"The athletes are suffering because they are left in the dark. If they suffer injuries, there is no support at all and MAAU refuses to work with the National Sports Council (NSC) or National Sports Insitute (NSI).
"It was so frustrating to see the 4x400m team being treated with no respect and not even allowed to attend the medal presentation. There are so many officials here doing nothing, yet the relay members were put on an early flight home without receiving their medals. "MAAU is killing the athletes. There must be a change as the athletes are being victimised all the time and nobody is really bothered. "I am the most senior member of the national squad, so I have to speak up now before the entire sport is completely destroyed.
"I hope this outburst will drum some sense into the powers-that-be and that Datuk Seri Shahidan (Kassim) will act fast to clear the mess."
Noraseela clocked 57.41s, her season's best, to win the gold while longtime rival Wassana Winatho of Thailand was second in 58.97. Third was Helari Viera of Indonesia (59.64s).
Roslinda Samsu defied the jeers at the Jakabaring Sports Complex to win her fourth gold with a new Games record.
Roslinda was involved in a keen tussle with Vietnam rival Le Thi Phuong with both clearing 4.20m to better the Games mark of 4.15m set by Roslinda.
Both failed to clear 4.25m but Roslinda won on countback as Thi Phuong needed two attempts at 3.80m.
It was also an emotional moment for her coach Manshahar Abdul Jalil, who collapsed due to heart problems five days ago, and he shed tears watching her return to form.
Roslinda said Manshahar has been the main reason for her success and his presence yesterday helped her win gold.