Register for help, NGO tells troubled Para Games gold medallist

Cycling gold medallist at the 9th Asean Para Games Mohamad Syazwan Roshdi was found sleeping in surau after failing to get a job in Singapore. (Bernama pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: The Paralympic Council of Malaysia of Malaysia (PCM) has rebuffed claims that it has neglected former athletes and urged former athletes to register with the National Athletes Welfare Foundation (Yakeb).

PCM vice-president R Subramaniam stepped forward to defend the organisation after a video of cycling gold medallist at the 9th Asean Para Games Mohamad Syazwan Roshdi sleeping at a surau went viral.

“We have always looked after the welfare of former national athletes.

“He (Syazwan) should have come to us and we could have advised him and put up his case to the right agency,” Subramaniam to ld Bernama at the Paralympic Games Excellence Centre in Kampung Pandan yesterday.

Subramaniam said PCM worked closely with Yakeb and urged former athletes to register with the foundation.

“The foundation provides the necessary services to former national athletes,” he said.

Syazwan was purportedly cheated by a friend who promised to get him a job in Singapore while he was waiting for his contract with the National Sports Council (NSC) to be renewed.

NSC director-general Ahmad Shapawi Ismail said the media was playing up the issue after the person who found Syazwan in the surau publicised his predicament .

“Actually, Syazwan was not neglected. He was just looking for an (job) opportunity which did not materialise,” he told Bernama.

Recently, the welfare of former athletes has been highlighed by the media.

In January, Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman said he was looking at ways to improve the welfare of former athletes.

He had met with former national para cyclists Shukor Farhan Suliman and Mohd Nur Syafiq Suhaimy whose contracts were ended by NSC due to a lack of results.

Shukor has since opened a guava stall to earn a living, assisted by Nur Syafiq. The meeting took place after the media publicised the situation these former athletes faced.

“We will strengthen our initiatives with universities and technical and vocational education and training (TVET) institutions, look at providing scholarships and make it easier for athletes to continue studying while training,” Syed Saddiq was reported as saying.