It’s a tough New Year resolution, as usual

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IT’S that time once again as the New Year dawns upon us on Sunday to make resolutions.

More often than not resolutions are made with enthusiasm and many unrealistic ones are made in the process.

However, so often when the next New Year comes around, a year from now, we are no better off than we were last year.

And it’s no surprise when many fail to not being able to uphold their resolutions no matter how hard they tried.

However, we still believe it was always worth trying, but among the sports fraternity, I wonder if they actually have resolutions that get fullfilled.

Yet, a majority of the National Sports Associations (NSAs) start out hoping for the best.

However, in fairness to a handful of associations, who run their bodies professionally, they have programmes with emphasis on grassroots development. They are the ones who time and again come out tops and continue to progress.

And it is associations governing badminton, squash, cycling, gymnastics, waterski and wakeboard, and tenpin bowling which continue to give Malaysian sports a good name.

Others which do well and in line to raise the bar include basketball, cricket, golf, hockey, netball, rugby, snooker and billiards, swimming and wushu.

But much more can be done by all and those who have not been doing much, they had better make it their resolution to shape up or ship out!

The biggest worry associations always face is the lack of finance, yes, it is agreed times are bad and sponsorship, big or small, is hard to come by, and many of sports supporters are already tied down with chosen associations.

It is time to think out of the box and get rid of the dole mentality.

NSAs must stop running to the National Sports Council (NSC) with the begging bowl and instead learn to manage their grassroots programmes by themselves.

Grassroot programmes must be managed by NSAs, full stop.

Otherwise, they might as well hand over their associations to NSC.

For next year, NSC have a budget of RM1.2 billion, of which RM450 million will go towards preparing athletes for the Sea Games and Asean Para Games which Malaysia will host from August to September.

Another RM75 million has also been allocated for the Podium Programme, which is geared to the 2020 Olympic gold medal target.

The programme also targets a top-10 medal finish at the 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia and Commonwealth Games in Australia the same year.

Under the Kita Juara programme, even sports associations who have in the past not been receiving much assistance from NSC as they are considered ‘minor’ sports, will get aid to prepare their athletes for the Games.

This is to ensure Malaysia as hosts emerge champions in the biennial Games.

A target of 100 gold medals or more is the target to achieve the overall championship title.

A lot of money is being spent towards the Games besides just for training — infra-structure, beautification, transportation, accommodation, opening and closing ceremonies and many other areas.

But it is hoped money spent through this Games leaves behind a legacy and a foundation for many sports to use this platform to higher levels in the coming years.

However, if NSAs are just going to use the funds for the Games to ride on the bandwagon without and clear objectives, it is going to be money down the drain.

Without doubt the resolution for NSAs for this year must be to win as many gold medals as their athletes can to aid Malaysia emerge champions last achieved when the country hosted the 2001 Games winning 111 gold, 98 silver and 86 bronze medals.

Happy New Year everyone, but the sports fraternity should hold their celebrations till Aug 31 — the last day of the SEA Games and Merdeka Day.

TONY is a sports journalist with close to four decades of experience and is passionate about local sports.

He can be reached at​