OCM eyeing bigger budget to achieve better results in 2024 Paris Olympics

03/10/2022 09:00 AM

By Farah Najihah Zuraimi

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 3 (Bernama) -- The Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) are hoping for a bigger allocation from the government for the development of athletes who will be leading the country’s medal hopes at the 2024 Paris Olympics.

OCM secretary-general Datuk Mohd Nazifuddin Mohd Najib said a budget, specifically to prepare athletes for the Olympics or ‘Road to Paris’, was important because the mother of all games will begin in less than two years.

“I hope the government can provide a budget that can cater for all sports that have been identified as medal prospects in Paris, like badminton, diving and cycling. Preparing them to meet the qualifying points or mark set for the Olympics qualification is equally important.

“Actually preparing athletes to qualify for the Olympics requires a big budget. Other competitions or tournaments that we are preparing are the Cambodia SEA Games from May 5-17, next year and the Asian Games in Hangzhou from Sept 10-25, also next year.

“These preparations are being done with the cooperation of the National Sports Council (NSC),” he said when asked to comment on the Budget 2023 that is expected to be tabled on Oct 7. 

In the 2022 Budget, the sports industry received an allocation of RM244 million which was RM50 million less when compared to the RM299 million allocated in the 2020 Budget that was tabled before the Covid-19 pandemic.

Mohd Nazifuddin feels if the budget was sufficient, naturally the country’s achievements at the event can be better, thus the prospect of medals too can be more realistic, especially the target to win the country’s first Olympic gold medal.

“If the budget is higher, definetely the achievements will be higher. Our hope of winning a gold medal from sports like badminton would be given additional focus by OCM president Tan Sri Mohamad Norza Zakaria who himself is the head for the Road to Paris. 

“We would certainly want to see the participation of breakdancing performer Lego Sam who as the gold medal winner at the 2019 SEA Games, participating in Olympics breakdancing event and become the first Malaysian to create such history, but such a venture would require a big budget,” he said. 

Meanwhile, Malaysian Karate Federation (Makaf) secretary-general Datuk Nur Azmi Ahmad hoped there would be a bigger allocation for karate since Malaysia has shifted to the endemic phase of Covid-19.

Nur Azmi said if Makaf was given the necessary budget, the National body for karate would enhance the development of the sport by organising various domestic competitions to unearth talent.

“The 2022 Budget was low due to the Covid-19 and we could not sustain all preparations and that was the case for all associations. However, through the 2023 Budget, we should participate in eight or nine championships as well as the Cambodia SEA Games and Hangzhou Asian Games in China, because we have set a target of winning a gold medal. 

“The selection of athletes for the SEA Games would probably be done by end of the year or January, in Melaka. We do not select athletes based on Malaysia Games (Sukma) results but we call them up to be with the team and the best will be selected,” he told Bernama. 

At the Vietnam SEA Games last May, the karate squad produced a superb display by winning four gold medals from kumite events and six bronze medals from kumite and kata events.

He said there are 15 national karate exponents under the National Sports Council’s Podium programme.