Sports min­is­ter re­minds fans to cheer for their teams and not jeer oth­ers

New Straits Times - - Sport - FADHLI ISHAK

THE Olympic Coun­cil of Malaysia (OCM) and the sports min­istry have asked Malaysians not to jeer Sin­ga­pore swim­ming sen­sa­tion Joseph School­ing when he com­petes in the Kuala Lumpur Sea Games.

Sports Min­is­ter Khairy Ja­malud­din said it was im­por­tant to main­tain a pos­i­tive out­look on the is­sue to avoid tar­nish­ing Malaysia’s rep­u­ta­tion as great hosts of the bi­en­nial games.

“Let’s not dwell on this too much, it is im­por­tant to re­mem­ber that Joseph School­ing’s mother is Malaysian,” said Khairy in a press con­fer­ence af­ter launch­ing the Sea Games main me­dia cen­tre in Kuala Lumpur yes­ter­day.

“I do not think he meant any mal­ice in the state­ment, as (OCM pres­i­dent) Tunku Im­ran Tuanku Ja’afar said the games is a cel­e­bra­tion of South­east Asia and I do not want any neg­a­tive per­cep­tion to come out from host­ing the games.

“No boo­ing, no jeer­ing. That is not what the Sea Games is about. Ten­sions will run high, cheer for your team but don’t jeer oth­ers.”

Olympic cham­pion School­ing had an­gered Malaysians when he said: “I think it will be nice to go to Malaysia’s back­yard and teach them a thing or two” in a tele­vi­sion in­ter­view with Sin­ga­pore’s Chan­nel NewsAsia on Aug 1. Joseph later down­played his com­ment, claim­ing it was taken out of con­text.

Tunku Im­ran, who is also the Sea Games Fed­er­a­tion pres­i­dent, said it is im­por­tant for Malaysia to show Joseph the re­spect he de­serves.

“I was at the Sin­ga­pore Sports Awards on Tues­day and had a long chat with Joseph. He is a very nice per­son and is not ar­ro­gant at all. He is very up­set that he has been taken out of con­text,” said Tunku, speak­ing dur­ing the same press con­fer­ence to­day.

“I think it is im­por­tant we give him the hon­our of be­ing the cur­rent (sport­ing) icon of South­east Asia.

He is the only Olympic gold medal­list from all South­east Asian coun­tries at the mo­ment which is some­thing we should be proud of.

“We do not want any ( jeer­ing) in­ci­dents such as at the World Ath­let­ics Cham­pi­onships re­cently, I do not want that frame of mind.”

Amer­i­can sprinter Justin Gatlin, who was twice banned from the sport for dop­ing of­fences, was jeered on var­i­ous oc­ca­sions dur­ing the World Cham­pi­onships in Lon­don ear­lier this week.

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