Noraseela 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 Khalid (left) and Roslinda Samsu celebrate after winning their fourth Sea Games gold in their respective events at the Jakabaring Sports Complex yesterday . - Picture by YAZIT RAZALI
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.