KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 31 — First-term minister Hannah Yeoh has a big dream.
As others set out their plans for 2023 on its eve today, the youth and sports minister spelt out her aspiration for the country to lift its first Olympic gold medal at the Paris Games in 2024, saying it cannot be a “one-man show” but will require the whole nation to make an effort.
“The ‘Road to Gold’ is not just about bringing home a medal from Paris 2024.
“It is about creating a template for how we invest in our athletes, how we make every competition count, how we can foster a sports ecosystem sustainably, how we gather data for grassroots scouting, how we can help our athletes build fanbases, and how to improve our measurements of sport development and success,” she said in a Facebook post today.
For Malaysia to develop its sporting scene, everyone needs to play a role, she said.
“Athletes, coaches, managers, sports associations, policies and legislations, corporates, families, schools, community, and media working in unison and producing a world class athlete and/or team. The nation is working.”
She added that when a Malaysian athlete or a team wins on the international stage, the glory doesn’t fall on the winner alone but is shared by all citizens as it also signifies the many steps that had been taken to enable that achievement.
“As we enter into 2023, it has become clear to me that a gold in Olympics 2024 is a must for Malaysia.
“Our first gold medal and our attempt at winning will birth new national heroes, inspire a generation of champions, uplift all sports at all levels, we will harbour bigger dreams in every area of life and industry, and we will believe in ourselves again,” she said.
Yeoh said that she has seen the great spirit and determination to succeed in her meetings with local athletes, regardless of their sport.
“Malaysia has a spark of flame in her that needs to be stoked. Our nation yearns for a golden age, again.
“For us to achieve this, we must believe that it is something that we as a nation can, that Malaysia can rise onto the world stage and hold our own. ‘Malaysia Boleh',” she said.
The country first took part in the Olympics as Malaysia in the 1964 Tokyo Games.
Prior to that, it competed separately under the names Malaya and North Borneo (present day Sabah) in 1956.
Former badminton ace Datuk Lee Chong Wei has netted three silvers, the most medals for Malaysia in the Olympics but the gold has remained elusive to date.