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Professional, forward-looking approach in sports development

  • There has been a lack of professionalism on the part of Yang and the relevant authorities in the handling of this matter, having given prejudiced excuses that best suit their respective interests.

Sin Chew Daily

Malaysian sports has been plagued by a fair deal of incidents of late, and this has negatively impacted the healthy development of sports in the country.

The dismissal of national diving coach Yang Zhuliang once again reminds all relevant parties of the need of handling and tackling issues more professionally in a bid to ensure the steady development of sports in the country.

Youth and sports minister Khairy Jamaluddin claimed that it was he who had instructed the ISN not to renew Yang's contract because the latter had allowed a "culture and environment of fear" that had led to "rape, sexual harassment, violence, physical abuse, bullying and threats."

The reason given by Khairy was obviously different from what ISN had claimed, that Yang's coaching was out of date and unscientific.

Yang was very unhappy with ISN's reasons, and cited examples to prove that his training was appropriate, otherwise he would not have produced world diving champions.

National diving athletes, including Cheong Jun Hoong, have been very supportive of the coach, arguing that ISN's reasons were unfounded.

We cannot deny that Yang has contributed significantly to the diving sport of this country. Under his leadership and coaching, we have made tremendous progress in our diving facilities and standards.

While we can understand the differences in the opinions of ISN and Yang on the training of athletes, it is nevertheless unbecoming for ISN to negate the contributions of Yang with such lame excuses.

Khairy's reasons, meanwhile, came as another major shocker as if Yang was a partner in crime in a recent rape case in which an assistant coach was charged in the court for allegedly raping a diver.

With the case yet to be closed and the suspect yet to be convicted, it is totally unfair to associate Yang's contract with this whole matter. Yang has not only lost his job, but also has his reputation tarnished.

Khairy was of the opinion that while Yang was not directly involved in the crime, he failed to stop the incident from taking place, allowing a culture and environment of fear to spread in the national diving squad.

As such, he felt that Yang must be held responsible for the lapse.

No doubt the athlete's physical and mental state is more important than medals and national glory. If the national diving team is overwhelmed by the culture of fear and athletes have to spend their days in fear, their performance will definitely be compromised.

But, did Yang deliberately opt to ignore the existence of such a culture? Or did ASUM, ISN, MSN and even the youth & sports ministry ever try to solve this problem with Yang? Was Yang given a chance to explain in the first place?

There has been a lack of professionalism on the part of Yang and the relevant authorities in the handling of this matter, having given prejudiced excuses that best suit their respective interests. They seem to be totally unprepared to sit down and talk about the problem in the interest of national sports.

As a result, the authorities have lost the faith of Malaysians while Yang's reputation has suffered further damage.

Such unfortunate incidents will leave a bad mark on the healthy development of sports in this country.

 

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