Below is an excerpt from The Star yesterday.
But Ajmal is optimistic of making the 2016 Olympics.
By Aftar Singh
KUALA LUMPUR:Hurdler Mohd Ajmal Aiman Mat Hassan was over the moon when he qualified on merit for the Under-19 World Junior Championships in Barcelona from July 10-15.
But his joy was shortlived as his state do not want to let him compete in the World Junior meet-all because they want him to feature in the Malaysia Games (SUKMA) in Kuantan.
What is even more depressing for Ajmal is that this is the second time he has been caught in such a predicament. The Kuala Terengganu-born 110m hurdler had also qualified for the World Junior meet in Canada two years ago but did not get to go because of the Malaysian Athletic Union's (MAU) budget constraints.
The 19-year old Ajmal, who featured in the Youth Olympics in Singapore 2009, is clearly dissapointed at missing out on the Junior World meet for a second time.
(taken from The Star, Wednesday, 4th July 2012, pg.59)
I read this news if not twice, but thrice just to confirm about the birth-place of this athlete. To tell that I'm surprise is an understatement. I'm just shocked that I never thought that this situation can happen even for a Grade-A Sport in Malaysia. For those who shares my background knowledge of this topic, they might be smiling right now.But, for those who don't, I beg you to go with the flow.
To be honest, I don't know who Ajmal is.I don't even know his potential, his standings in Malaysia's track and event sports, his achievement, etc.But if he qualifies for two times for the same meet, then he must be a good athlete then. True, for the last Sukma games where he competed, he only managed to win silver medal, finishing behind Laos SEA Games gold medallist, Rayzam Shah. And since Rayzam is not competing in this year's Sukma, Ajmal (and his state) is eyeing for the gold medal it seems.
Don't get me wrong. I have never underestimate the power of Sukma games in Malaysia. This is one of the first stage to be acknowledged as a Malaysian's athlete. Especially if you win you game, you break whatever record that they have. But I can see the dilemma here. It's between a potential gold medal and an international exposure.It's a very tough choice actually. And what makes is tougher if you are a kind of athlete who prefers to have and count your gold medals when you retired.
Maybe for track and field athletes, they can miss any international games anytime. Because there are many for them to attend. They can choose and pick. But for certain sports (Softball and Baseball esp) this is the major issue and problem. It is always a questions about achievement vs exposure. The governing body of this sport want achievement for more international exposure. But the players it seems, lack of exposure to achieve international standard of playing. It's like a chicken and egg story. It just never ends.Unless the angels got together and granted this country a bunch of natural-born, super-talented players to rewrite the history of softball and baseball. And to add the fuel to the fire, I might want to remind and inform that there is always another issue as well; money and fund.
Ajmal however very optimistic even though he misses the meet for second time. He wish to compete for Olympic 2016 which is very optimistic for him. Did he check the latest number for track and event athletes that qualified for London Olympics? I don't want to dampen his spirit or optimistic attitude, but I want him to realize that the road to Olympic is always under construction.
Let this be a lesson to budding athletes, coaches and managers out there. It is important on how you want to measure you success as one of the above. Do you want to be remember as jaguh kampung athlete or international athlete? Do you prefer to have you athlete with you forever or you wish to see them develop to the international stage and be remembered as their first coach? Or do you want to manage you team as a mere manager or excellent manager?Whatever choices that you make, it is just like throwing a stone into a lake. The small wave will be bigger and that just determine the future of sports in Malaysia.