Paralympics XVIII: Scouting and development of athletes must be ongoing – Fatimah
By Jude Toyat
It is essential to employ better approaches in athletes’ scouting and development departments to ensure the sustainability and successful run of the Sarawak contingent in the Malaysian Paralympic Games.
Minister of Welfare, Women and Community Wellbeing Datuk Fatimah Abdullah emphasised that paralympiads from other states were catching up at a faster rate now to the level of athletes from Sarawak.
“On August 10, when the curtains are drawn close for the games, scouting and development of athletes must not stop.
“We have to continue to make the athletes champions in their own way,” she said during the launch of a symposium held in conjunction with the 18th Malaysian Paralympic Games at Citadines Uplands on Aug 5.
The symposium aimed to create and raise awareness on the needs of People with Disabilities (PWD) in Sarawak.
Fatimah said that the refurbished sports facilities in Sarawak was a blessing for all state athletes to prepare themselves physically and mentally for competitive sporting events.
She also encouraged members of the public to come and support the athletes in the games starting Aug 6 to Aug 10 at the sports’ respective venues.
“The public should give their full support to the athletes for them to capture the state’s 12th championship title,” she said.
Meanwhile, Minister of Youth, Sports and Solidary Dato Sri Michael Manyin Jawong said that the public’s perception towards PWDs must be improved upon.
“People with disabilities (PWD) have the potential and the will to live ordinary lives, but people are not mature enough to think about them. This has made them feel inferior,” said Manyin.
The stigma around PWDs, Manyin added, causes them tend to shy away.
“If we look at developed countries, they do not feel shy because their society considers them as one of them. They are born (a certain way) and it is not their fault,” he said.
Thus, he encouraged members of the community to treat PWDs with respect and dignity.
“I also hope that the sports facilities for all PWDs will be made available at more public places, including shopping malls in the near future. This is what we must emulate, similar to those of developed countries,” he added.