We have the sporting talents – be they games on the field or on the screen – to make the country to stand proud – only that these talents are not acknowledged enough.
However, the young people of the country has decided that they cannot wait for the powers to be to polish and push them in any way, for the government seems to be too engrossed in other things than its youth.
Case in point – Olympics and Dota 2.
Last week, we were pleasantly surprised when our divers Cheong Jun Hoong and Pandelela Rinong won Malaysia’s first medal at the Rio Olympic Games after clinching silver in the women’s 10m platform synchronised on Tuesday.
Jun Hoong-Pandelela scored a total 344.34 points to finish second behind China’s Chen Ruolin-Liu Huixia (354.00), reported The New Straits Times.
And yesterday, a group of Malaysian electronic sport (e-sport) athletes created history this weekend when they won US$1.4 million (RM5.6 million) in the wildly popular competitive game Dota 2.
“While the country awaits its first gold medal at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, local e-sport fans rejoiced after team Fnatic clinched fourth place at The International Dota 2 tournament held in Seattle, the United States.
“The professional gamers, aged between 20 and 25, entered the competition as underdogs but exceeded all expectations when they defeated some of the top teams from Europe and Asia.
“Despite performing poorly in the group stages, Yeik Nai Zheng (MidOne), Adam Erwann Shah (343), Chong Xin Khoo (Ohaiyo) and Chai Yee Fung (Mushi) miraculously clawed back from what appeared to be certain defeat and staged some of the biggest upsets of the tournament,” reported The New Straits Times.
These are international games with stakes so high that even if one comes in third, you are still on the world stage for all to applaud.
When Pandelela got the silver, she was awarded pension for life, but what would have been more appropriate was to start scholarships for the potential divers we have in Malaysia.
As for Dota, Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin did put some effort in by helping out with the visas, but that is not enough – he was probably busy acting in videos for saving the environment anyway.
These Dota players who won made it on their own and did not wait for anyone. Heck, more than 90 percent of Malaysians do not even know what is Dota, a variation of a video game – as it is a very much a gamers’ territory.
Now, we wait to see if they too would be given pension for life, but what is needed is for anyone with a dream to make it big in any sane sports to be given the right to participate, which means, scholarships, permits, recognition and family participation, so that they have the right support all along.
Our Malaysian talents are out there, so much of them, but they remain only potential which will be buried away for life, if the society and the government do not nurture them.
And the government and big corporate companies should not wait to see that they are already at the top before sponsoring them – they must be sponsored when they are still budding talents.
It may be a case too embarrassing, should our Pandelelas and Dota players, or any other budding sport talents represent another country, taking on their citizenship, in any international arena and then announce to the world they are doing so because Malaysia did not acknowledge them.