Khairy says ath­letes should do their best and not be bur­dened by ex­pec­ta­tions

New Straits Times - - Sport -

DEVIN­DER SINGH devin­der@nst.com.my

AF­TER set­ting a tar­get of 111 gold medals for the na­tional con­tin­gent to emerge over­all Sea Games cham­pi­ons on Aug 19-30, Sports Min­is­ter Khairy Ja­malud­din wants to do away with such bench­marks in the fu­ture.

Khairy said tar­get­ing a cer­tain num­ber of gold medals serves lit­tle pur­pose other than to ful­fil the de­mands of the me­dia, and by ex­ten­sion the pub­lic.

“What is im­por­tant is that we emerge over­all cham­pi­ons and I an­nounced the tar­get based on this goal,” said Khairy dur­ing a visit to the Kin­rara Oval, venue for the Sea Games cricket com­pe­ti­tions, yes­ter­day.

“We could achieve more than the tar­get or even less than that. It could go ei­ther way. The tar­get is not so much for the ath­letes, they know what to do.

“Like I have told the ath­letes, don’t think too much about the colour of the medal, just go out there and do your best, re­spect your op­po­nent and the gold medal will come.

“This is more for you (me­dia), who have been ask­ing me this for the last one month. We don’t want to an­nounce the tar­get but this is a prac­tice which is so ob­so­lete.

“In high-per­for­mance coun­tries, they don’t an­nounce such tar­gets. They may an­nounce a tar­get for to­tal medals but ours is third-world think­ing.”

The tar­get an­nounced by Khairy, if achieved, would equal the coun­try’s best-ever haul set in 2001, also in Kuala Lumpur.

But Khairy said the fig­ure of 111 gold medals is a co­in­ci­dence and has no re­la­tion to the 2001 haul.

“We can’t make such com­par­isons be­cause the sports be­ing con­tested now and the sit­u­a­tion now is dif­fer­ent to 2001,” said Khairy.

“The ath­letes now are also dif­fer­ent. The tar­get we set now is not based on what we achieved in 2001. This tar­get is based on the per­for­mances of our ath­letes now.

“I think I’d be a stupid min­is­ter if we set a tar­get based on what hap­pened 16 years ago. In any case, the tar­get set in 2001 was 80-some­thing but we won 111 gold.”

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