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PADAWAN, April 16: Assistant Minister of Youth and Sports Datuk Snowdan Lawan is calling upon the National Sports Institute (NSI) to reach out to the youngsters of rural areas, as they represent an untapped pool of talent.
He said these aspiring rural athletes may be very athletic and strong with their own talent but in need of guidance and proper training to enhance their full potential which would be beneficial to the state’s sports scene.
“I told them (NSI) that most of our aspiring young athletes are from the rural areas and they have their own unique talents.
“They are sometimes dubbed ‘jaguh kampung’ (village champions) among their communities but they lack exposure. They need proper training and coaching to be able to unleash their full potential,” Snowdan emphasised when officiating at the Siburan Talent Outreach Training Centre at the Padawan Sports Complex here this afternoon.
He said he puts his faith in NSI on expanding its outreach to the untapped rural areas including areas that lacked exposure to sports.
He added that as have been proven in international sporting events like the recent Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia, many Malaysian athletes who managed to win medals were Sarawakians and therefore it was appropriate that the institute look into this matter promptly.
Meanwhile NSI chief executive officer Dr Mohd Khairi Zawi said the talent outreach programme held at the Padawan Sports Complex was the second one in the country after Merlimau, Melaka.
He gave his assurance that NSI would continuously carry out the outreach programme especially in the rural areas as it is the institute’s long-term goal to ensure these untapped talents among the rural youngsters would be discovered, leaving no rocks unturned.
“These youngsters are the next generation that will lead the country. They need effective programmes to harness their talents and sharpen their skills. One of the programmes that fits that criteria is sporting activities.
“Sports is a very effective therapy in helping to shape these youngsters not only physically but also mentally through the spirit of hard work and teamwork,” said Mohd Khairi.
The Talent Outreach programme will initially focus on eight sports — football, silat, karate, swimming, badminton, archery, track and field, and rugby.
For Sarawak, Khairi said the programme will focus more on track and field with the help of professional coach Abang Sapani Abang Sarbini, who had coached several state athletes representing the country in international sporting events.
“Abang Sapani is preparing training modules for the selected youngsters participating today and I hope it will benefit these young athletes,” said Mohd Khairi. — DayakDaily