SportExcel recognizes the performance of 42 athletes from 12 sports for their brilliant performances in 2017 by providing an individual annual funding for these 42 athletes. The event, which was in conjunction with the Pledge Signing Ceremony by the National Sport Bodies was held on 28th February 2018 at Bukit jalil Golf & Country Club.

Malaysia is actually not short of exciting young talents as these athletes have shown great performance in local and international tournament in their sport discipline. Receipient age below 12 received RM 1,000.00 while those above 12 years old received RM 1,500. Although the amount is not big, it will somehow help in some way.

Some of the receipient were also interviewed by the member of the press.

The event, which is held every year is intended to celebrate the best of Malaysian junior athletes.

During the Pledge Signing Ceremony, SportExcel chairman YM Tunku Tan Sri Imran ibni Almarhum Tunku Jaafar delivered his speech and touching some of the concern he had with regards to the recent negative trend that clouded Malaysian athletes.

Pictures from the event

DISTINGUISHED GUESTS, MEMBERS OF THE MEDIA, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN

Thank you all for taking time to be at this evening’s Annual Individual Funding 2018 Programme and Commitment Ceremony. I cannot say it often enough, but your presence is a sure sign of your unstinting support for SportExcel.

It also greatly encourages us to press ahead with our commitment to sporting excellence in Malaysia.

Malaysia continues to steer a promising course in sport at all levels. Last year, we finished overall champions at the SEA Games, while surpassing medal expectations.

In individual sports such as badminton, cycling, squash and golf, our athletes continue to keep the Malaysian flag flying high. In squash for example, we once fretted about the lack of depth in talent after Nicol David. But S.Sivasangari’s success in winning the Under-19 title at the British Open this year was a breath of fresh air for the sport.
Malaysia also achieved a historic best-ever finish at the British Open with four titles – the other winners being Aifa Azman (Under-17), Aira Azman (Under-15) and K.Sehveetrraa (Under-13).

It was a great achievement and we salute these players for their excellent performance. It is also with great pride that we acknowledge Sivasangari as a product of SportExcel’s junior squash circuit. As a junior, she honed her skills on the SportExcel junior circuit and over time, we have seen her bloom into a star in her own right. Given time, we pray, she will move up to fill the place eventually left by Nicol.

Incidentally, Sivasangari, who also won the Under-15 crown at the British open in 2014, bid farewell to her junior squash career at the British Open.

I must also congratulate Professional golfer Gavin Kyle Green for his own achievements on the international golf circuit. He is another SportExcel talent, having been groomed for stardom from his time on the junior golf circuit. Gavin is now ranked 172nd in the world and last year, won the Mercuries Taiwan Masters and Shinhan Donghae Opens and 2nd in the Hero Indian, and most importantly was the winner of the Asian Tour Order of Merit 2017. We are truly proud of Gavin and watch with great expectations his performance on the global stage.

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN

This year, we will witness two major sporting events – the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games. I am confident that Malaysia’s talent to both these major events will once again do the country proud. Performances here will be a mirror to what the future holds for Malaysian sport and in particular, our quest for that elusive Olympic gold.

At this time, I would like to warn all Malaysian athletes to stay clear of what is now a twin scourge of the local sports scene. I speak of match fixing and doping. In respect of match fixing, it used to be a malady that afflicted mostly Malaysian football, but has since grown to infect other sports as well. There were 14 positive cases in 2016 alone, including three at the Malaysia Games and the numbers have grown through 2017. Right now, two badminton players have been summoned to face charges by the Badminton World Federation of match fixing. If proven, it is a truly shameful episode, and one that negates all other successes that Malaysia has forged on the global arena to date.

Together with doping, we also face the prospect of being labelled as drug cheats and akin to the cloud that Russian athletes are now under. Surely, we do not want this. Therefore, I urge all concerned, athletes, officials and those charged with the development of Malaysian sport, to be vigilant against match fixing and doping. We can and must offer no excuses if caught. Thus, match fixing and doping must be totally eradicated from the mindset of Malaysian sport.

SportExcel on its part will initiate its own campaign as part of the junior circuits to inculcate a sense of derision towards doping and match fixing.

For SportExcel, the future of Malaysian sports remains foremost in our commitment to talent development.
Today, we continue to press the SportExcel initiative in talent development through this commitment and individual funding ceremony amounting to RM57,000. We hope the 43 recipients of grants will work hard at emulating the success of the Rio 2016 athletes. We hope they will be motivated to train harder and be more focused in their mission to be another Datuk Nicol David or Datuk Lee Chong Wei.

To national associations, I once again urge them to put talent development at the heart of their programmes. We need to be more focused on strategies.

SportExcel will continue to play its part in this regard. Over the last 25 years, more than 50,000 junior athletes have benefited from the SportExcel circuits.

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN

The SportExcel brand has clearly stood the test of time and even more, proved itself to be a worthy partner in the development of Malaysian sport.

We started off with just one circuit, golf, and now have 12 sports and 14 circuits. We have passed milestone after milestone on the road to ensuring that Malaysian sport will always have a future through innovative and consistent talent development programmes.

I would like at this time to express my sincere appreciation to the National Sports council, Partner Milo, Ministry of Youth & Sports, the Ministry of Education, our Charter members, parents and sponsors who have worked hard alongside SportExcel to ensure the continuity and sustainability of the junior programmes. I would also like to take this opportunity to invite more private sector companies to come forward and support SportExcel as Charter Members and Project Sponsors.

May 2018 be another stellar year and of great rejoicing for Malaysian sport.

Once again, thank you all for being here today.

Tunku Tan Sri Imran

SportExcel Chairman, Yayasan Kecemerlangan Sukan Malaysia

Opening Speech by YM Tunku Tan Sri Imran ibni Almarhum Tuanku Jaafar