Past, present MAF chiefs spar over RM20,000 for sprinter Russel Taib

MAF president SM Muthu (left) says he is in the dark about the RM20,000 for record-breaker Russel Taib’s training expenses while his predecessor Karim Ibrahim says the MAF council was aware of the funds.

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia Athletics Federation (MAF) president SM Muthu has denied knowledge of funds amounting to RM20,000 being claimed by national 200m record-holder Russel Taib for training expenses in Australia.

He said the matter should be referred to the previous MAF leadership whom he labelled a “one-man show”, adding that “they (had) all the power”.

Muthu was referring to his predecessor, Karim Ibrahim, whom he unseated at the MAF elections last June.

When reminded that he had been deputy president in the previous administration, he said the present office-bearers were never told about Russel receiving the money.

When asked if he had questioned or sought clarification about the mock cheque for RM21,000 presented to Russel at an official dinner last year, he said council members “never asked questions because we fully supported the president”.

Russel has only received RM1,000 so far for breaking the 200m record at the Queensland Track Classic in Brisbane in March last year.

He has spent more than RM100,000 per year on training since 2015, first in Tasmania and now in Brisbane.

When contacted, Karim said the RM20,000 due to Russel was part of the annual IAAF Olympics Athletics Dividend grant of US$25,000 allocated for various activities including athletics development.

He said discussions at council meetings about the payment had been minuted, and that the treasurer had recorded the money from the international body in the MAF account.

“Muthu must have been sleeping during council meetings if he is not aware of the grant,” he added.

Karim, who is president of the Perak Athletics Association and a MAF council member, also maintained that he would assist in resolving the issue.