Friday, December 11, 2009

Minister blasts Abu Samah

SPORTS Minister Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek yesterday ticked off Malaysian National Cycling Federation (MNCF) president Abu Samah Wahab over the debacle of the scheduled arrival of the national cyclists at the Laos Sea Games.

The national road squad left Kuala Lumpur yesterday accompanied by mechanics and National Sports Council (NSC) officials, while their coach Jamaluddin Omar had already arrived on Monday, along with team manager Datuk Ahmad Sidi Ismail.

It didn't stop there as the team management and coaching staff had arrived earlier leaving their athletes in Kuala Lumpur training on their own.

NSC director general Datuk Zolkples Embong said this was due to the team managers' meetings being scheduled earlier, on Dec 8, but found no explanation as to why the coaches had to leave their athletes behind.

The national mountain bike team have already been hit by a sudden rescheduling of their events by the organisers, which saw JR Stanly Jalip and Ghazali Hakiki Ali Samson being rushed to Vientiane, arriving early Tuesday morning, just before their official practice for the downhill event.

"I feel there has been a misunderstanding between the organisers and cycling officials, which I hope does not happen again," said Ahmad Shabery, who also celebrated his 51st birthday in Laos yesterday.

 Sports Minister Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek (right) raises the spirits of Malaysian athletes with a rousing speech at the Games Village yesterday.
Sports Minister Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek (right) raises the spirits of Malaysian athletes with a rousing speech at the Games Village yesterday.

"But at the same time, I'd like to express my disappointment with the committee that made the rescheduling, more so with the Malaysians who were part of that committee which made these decisions.

"These Malaysians were part of the committee, but failed to communicate effectively with our cycling officials on the rescheduling and changes made to the programme at the Sea Games."

Abu Samah is also president of the Asean Cycling Federation (ACF) and is the technical delegate for cycling at this Sea Games, while a number of Malaysians are part of the technical crew that run the cycling events here.

The MNCF president and his entourage have been spotted around Vientiane, particularly at the Nazim Restaurant, a popular Indian Muslim joint which is among the few outlets that offer halal cuisine.

But the NSC's inquest into the matter still does not explain how coaches were coaxed into leaving their cyclists behind and heading to Laos on much earlier flights.

"This is a matter we will be looking into. We also will look into the period required for athletes to be sent to locations for competitions in order for them to be better prepared," said Ahmad Shabery, upon being notified that the road squad's main rivals Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam had arrived in Laos well ahead of schedule to familiarise themselves with the road race and time trial routes. NST

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