KUALA LUMPUR: The national’s contingent's seven-gold haul at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games is a clear indication of a bigger disaster awaiting Malaysia in four months’ time at the Asian Games in Jakarta.
This prediction was made by Sadek Mustaffa, senior lecturer at the Faculty of Sports Science and Recreation at UiTM Shah Alam.
He believes that the overall performance in Australia was not convincing enough, because the preparations were inadequate and compounded by athletes who are mentally weak.
"The preparations to compete in Australia were not enough as the athletes did not compete in pre-games that were of good quality, and they were also not prepared mentally for the games.
“As an example, the men were doing well in shooting in the early rounds, but fizzled out at the crucial stages," said Sadek.
"After the Sea Games last August, the athletes were not prepared for the higher standard Commonwealth Games by competing in tougher tournaments. They were also not prepared, mentally, after the Sea Games success," Sadek told NST Sport yesterday.
Sadek said it was a “big joke” when weightlifting, which is not included in the Podium Programme, handed Malaysia two gold medals and a bronze.
He asked whether the decisions by the National Sports Institute (NSI), National Sports Council (NSC) and officials at the Podium Programme were correct in reflecting the standards of weightlifting in the country?
He also asked how come the performance of high jumper Nauraj Singh, who had received training and exposure in Australia under the Podium Programme, was worse than athletes who had received only exposure and training in Malaysia.
"I feel that the director of Podium Programme (Tim Newenham) failed to take into account our culture in certain sports (in Games).
“And it looks like those working in sports associations might not be too happy with his ways and this has to an extent, disrupted the athletes’ performances as well.
"Going by our seven-gold haul, it’s the same when we did not have the Podium Programme and so, Newenham should take responsibility.
"And by the standard shown by our athletes in Australia, don't hope for a better show at the Asian Games. Actually, we are only good at Southeast Asian level."
Sadek doubts Malaysia can do well in Jakarta, as weightlifting, badminton, diving and artistic gymnastics will face a tougher challenge at the Asian Games.
The four sports were among those who contributed to seven gold medals in Gold Coast and will be depended on again for medals at the Asian Games.