KUALA LUMPUR: The youth and sports ministry (KBS) today announced the formation of the Road To Gold (RTG) project team aimed at coordinating the country’s efforts in bagging its first Olympic gold medal.
The RTG committee is chaired by youth and sports minister Hannah Yeoh and Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) president Norza Zakaria.
Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) president Hamidin Amin is the chef de mission (CDM) for the 2024 Paris Olympics.
The other committee members are KBS secretary-general Nagulendran Kangayatkarasu; National Sports Council (NSC) director-general Shapawi Ismail; National Sports Institute (NSI) chief executive officer Faedzal Ramli; Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) vice-president Najmi Razak; squash legend and deputy CDM for Paris 2024 Nicol Ann David; former badminton ace Lee Chong Wei; and ex-hockey star Mirnawan Nawawi.
In addition, Malaysian Football League (MFL) CEO Stuart Ramalingam is the project coordinator and he will be assisted by Akademi Badminton Malaysia (ABM) CEO Michelle Chai.
Yeoh said that taking into account the structure and implementation of the previous Olympic project and with the Paris Olympics just a year away, the RTG committee will prepare a long-term framework covering Paris 2024 and Los Angeles 2028.
“The Paris Gold Committee is now known as the Road To Gold Committee. This committee will work with the existing podium programme, which focuses on elite athletes’ preparation programmes,” she told a press conference at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil today.
Meanwhile, Norza said Tokyo 2020 medallists Azizulhasni Awang and the badminton pair of Aaron Chia and Soh Wooi Yik are almost certain to be included in the project.
However, the process of identifying candidates is ongoing, he said.
“We haven’t gone through the qualifying process for the Olympic Games and the athletes will be identified by those in the podium programme to see what is required for them to succeed,” he said.
Yeoh said the focus of the programme for elite athletes will include overseas training, exposure to more competitions, the provision of coaching services, support staff, sports science and medical services, and self-improvement programmes.
On Stuart’s appointment, she said his background as former FAM secretary-general made him a suitable candidate because the role requires expertise in establishing strategic cooperation with all stakeholders.
“Stuart brings with him extensive experience, having worked with international sports bodies and agencies. The immediate task of this committee is to identify the requirements needed to win gold at the Olympics,” she said.
Yeoh said all the appointments are on a voluntary basis as part of the collective nation-building effort.
As for the Paralympics, she said the gold medal programme for the para athletes will continue under the podium programme at NSC level.