Public sentiment among our sports officials is not exactly at its best at the moment.
Especially with Malaysia falling short of their goal of seven Commonwealth Games gold earlier this month.
Much has been said about the high number of officials accompanying the athletes when Malaysia did not bring the goods.
But as a former athlete, I hope to make everyone understand that every official who is there has a goal.
Not all sports officials work full time and people need to understand that these guys go out of their way for the sports they are responsible for without getting paid.
Take the example of a team leader: he has a lot of things behind the scenes that he needs to do that people don’t see.
He is responsible for preparing athletes’ uniforms, paying for passes and is responsible for the team report after the event is over.
If he doesn’t, who is going to assess the problems when things go wrong?
The team leader will compile the reports and submit them to their respective National Sports Associations (ANS) and the National Sports Council (NSC).
And they are definitely not here for vacations.
Take squash for example, if there are three players and one of them plays in the morning while the others play matches in the evening, the coach or team manager must be there all day.
And it’s those officials that we need as part of a support group – to help, motivate, and make sure everything goes smoothly.
These officials are also athletes’ best friends during the tournament as they are always the first to congratulate or comfort the athlete depending on the situation.
From my experience as a squash player for over 10 years, I would personally like more people in my area to support me when I play abroad.
It’s heartwarming, especially when you’re down in a game, turning around and seeing familiar faces supporting you.
But of course, it’s a very gray area on the subject of these officials.
The public sentiment is – if we’re not going to deliver, why send so many officials?
This is understandable because it is public funds.
I guess the best way to deal with this is that sports that can’t perform in big tournaments shouldn’t be there.
We don’t want a sport to do the numbers and indirectly that will solve the problem of too many officials.