Thursday, November 17, 2011
Malaysian Amateur Athletics Union (MAAU) refused to take any blame over the inability of the national 4x400m men’s quartet to collect their gold medals at the ongoing Sea Games in Indonesia.
Instead, MAAU deputy president Karim Ibrahim (pic) said the blame should fall on Sea Games athletics team manager Rajemah Sheikh Ahmad, the National Sports Council (NSC) secretariat and the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM).
"It is her (Rajemah) responsibility to ensure the boys were able to pick up their well-deserved medals. I have no say in this. We have no jurisdiction over their arrangements there (Indonesia). All we do is recommend athletes to compete and finance those under category B," said Karim.
He claims that he was not aware of the situation until it was too late and finds the fact to be shameful and disgraceful. The quartet of S. Kannathasan, P. Yuvaraaj, Schzuan Ahmad Rosely and Mohd Yunus Lasaleh were sent to the Games under a Category B ticket – meaning MAAU had to cover all costs unless they returned with a medal.
The quartet surprised everyone by winning the 4x400m men’s relay with a time of 3:10:47s. The boys were not even supposed to compete at the Games after failing to qualify on merit before the Sept 25 entry cut-off.
They were given a lifeline despite not impressing in the Wilayah Open and Perak Open. It was only after Oct 30 that MAAU, on the coaches' suggestion, decided to send the team to Jakarta.
"Credit must go to the boys for winning this. It's sad they weren't able to stay for the prize giving ceremony. They should have been allowed to stay on. They won a gold medal and it's only logical that they stayed on at any cost," said Karim.
He refused to comment on national hurdler Noraseela Khalid’s backlash on MAAU and will leave it to MAAU president Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim to give a statement.
"But it is good that she said she will fight for the the sport. Every athlete should do the same and never refrain from doing good for the sport and association."
This is a complete turnaround as Karim had previously accused Noraseela of being NSC's pet. It is a known fact that Karim and NSC director-general Datuk Zolkples Embong do not see eye to eye.