Junior sportsmen and sportswomen were reminded of the importance of focus, dedication and determination in order to achieve their dreams of becoming world class.

The reminder came from SportExcel Chairman YM Tunku Tan Sri Imran ibni Al-Marhum Tuanku Jaafar at the presentation of financial assistance worth RM54,000 to 41 junior athletes from nine sports at the Glenmarie Golf and Country Club on Feb 5.

“We also lay emphasis to the development of good values and building of soft skills such as self-confidence, understanding and co-operation, integration and so on. We strongly believe in wholesome development of an athlete,” he said.

SportExcel, a non-profit organization had been contributing to junior development for more than 29 years and more than 50,000 athletes had benefited from its annual circuits. They included squash queen Dato’ Nicol David, cyclists Azizul Hasni and Fatehah, and golfer Gavin Green.

Tunku Imran added that SportExcel would continue to commit itself to talent development by having more excellence-related programmes, in particular international exposure programmes for outstanding junior athletes.

“We firmly believe that international exposure for upcoming juniors, in the form of training and competition is important.

“Now and again we have reminded NSAs’ that much effort should be directed toward junior development, that should include elite programs such as international exposure, from an early stage.”

He said apart from organising the annual circuits and having international programmes in the pursuit of excellence, outstanding juniors were also given financial assistance.

“The amount may not be much, but intended to recognize and also motivate them. It is my sincere hope that these juniors continue to train hard to achieve their dreams.

“Talent isn’t everything. The most important aspect of competition is working hard. Having the right effort and work ethics is worth a lot more than talent, and it will take you places talent can’t get you.”

He added that national associations were entrusted to not only conduct  all activities and programmes professionally, with high priority given to junior development, but also not forgetting the importance of good governance.

Tunku Imran also appealed to the private sector and individuals to come forward and support SportExcel programmes and expressed his gratitude to long standing partners MSN and MILO as well as its Charter members for their continuous support.

“Your support is very important for the continuity and sustainability of the junior programmes to unearth and develop more junior athlete in the various sports under SportExcel.”