Gratitude, winning mentality and opportunities

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IT has been a long road for cycling coach John Beasley and accolades are raining on him presently.

But knowing Malaysian sports only too well, I hope for his sake, it will not turn to hailstorms.

Without doubt Beasley with the support of the National Sports Council, National Sports Institute, Sports Ministry and Malaysian National Cycling Federation, with a team of dedicated cyclists headed by Azizulhasni Awang, has done a great deal for Malaysian cycling in the last decade.

It culminated with Azizulhasni winning the world title at the Track Cycling World Championships in Hong Kong two weeks ago.

It proved world class results cannot be achieved overnight.

It is only through proper development programmes with long-term goals, top class coaches, total support, being patient and above all having athletes who are dedicated and having a winning mentality, will give a fair opportunity to taste success.

But at the same time, success sometimes breeds and follows with, over or unrealistic expectations, which result in disappointment and hasty decisions.

There was a similar scenario in tenpin bowling in the 1990s when national bowling coach Sid Allen after 10 years with Malaysian Tenpin Bowling Congress (MTBC) and putting the sport on the world map, was suddenly deemed not good enough by bowlers he made champions.

He was unceremoniously dumped but MTBC through the leadership of Datuk Dr P. S. Nathan, have remained relevant.

Hopefully, the same fate does not happen to Beasley.

The Australian hit the nail when he said: “Azizul’s success has a great deal to do with his winning mentality.”

Indeed, “winning mentality” has been lacking with many of our talented athletes who fall short of achieving their
true capabilities.

Azizul may be a “kampung boy” from Dungun, but his exposure in Australia and his own dream and desire to be a champion, has brought him where he has through hard work, determination, discipline and dedication.

This kind of mentality is common among Malaysian athletes who have made their base overseas.

Just look at Nicol David, Josiah Ng, Ong Beng Hee, Nauraj Singh Randhawa to name few while Pandelela Rinong, Nur Dhabitah Sabri, Cheong Jun Hoong often train in China.

The only exception is probably Lee Chong Wei. He is a different breed and knows what sacrifice is all about having risen to great heights the hard way.

It is also important for athletes to grab opportunities which come their way and make the best of it. Sometimes opportunity only comes along once!

Don’t penalise athletes

Talking about opportunities, sports associations and officials owe it to the athletes to give every opportunity
to progress.

It is puzzling bowling kingpins — Kuala Lumpur who were the defending champions and Penang — gave the National Inter-State championship a miss!

Penang cited financial constraints while Kuala Lumpur’s absence is a mystery.

However, it is an open secret both states don’t agree with MTBC on several issues.

But whatever issues, the bowlers should not be the ones to suffer.

KL have five (Timmy Tan, Rafiq Ismail, Syafiw Ridhan Abd Malek, Sharon Koh and Radin Nur Najwa ​A​rifah Radin Dzulfafar) and Penang two (Adrian Ang and Esther Cheah) national bowlers, who have been deprived of competition.

If both states had problems to field teams, then the least they could have done was to allow their bowlers to represent other states.

While we always demand the best of athletes, the same rule should apply to officials and associations.

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

He can be reached at