New Straits Times


TM plan to set up regional training academy


HOPING to turn a new page, Taekwondo Malaysia (TM) are working towards setting up a regional training academy in Malaysia which could restore the sport to its former glory.

TM are looking to work together with World Taekwondo (WT) and the National Sports Council (NSC) in setting up the academy, which will cater to elite athletes from the South-east Asian region.

Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said it is a positive move for the sport which has long been hampered by internal power struggle.

“The way TM responded to being removed from the core sports programme has been positive and they are working hard to improve the sport,” said Khairy during the World Taekwondo Malaysia Open in Putrajaya yesterday.

“I have discussed with WT president Choue Chungwon and TM president Tan Seri S. A. Vigneswara­n for us to try and set up a taekwondo academy in Malaysia with the support of WT. It will be an elite concept academy where the best will live and train with access to the best support services.

“I have asked TM to further discuss this matter with NSC. We have not set any time frame for this yet as there is still a lot we have to determine such as the programme itself, the coaching and the selection process. We, however, have a few ideas on the potential location for the academy.”

“This will be the first such academy in Malaysia and it will also cater for other countries in the region such as Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam, Myanmar where there are no such academies,” said Vigneswara­n.

“I hope this academy will help our exponents win more medals at the internatio­nal level.”

Khairy stressed that for taekwondo to be included again in the Core Sports programme, TM must work on reuniting all the factions in the sport in Malaysia.

“The issues in taekwondo have been around for a long time, even before I became sports minister,” added Khairy.

“We want taekwondo to return to its former glory and want to see more champions such as M. Vasugi and Elaine Teo, whom we had once upon a time. We want the infighting in the sport to end.

“The academy will help but it is not the main criteria for reinclusio­n. TM must focus on reuniting the sport again and ensure that all exponents, regardless of the team or group they are from, are allowed to compete freely.”

Taekwondo has suffered over the past decade due to there being two national bodies governing the sport in Malaysia with different rules and regulation­s. TM are now the official national body for taekwondo in Malaysia and recognised by WT.

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