SEA Games: Selection of athletes must be based on merit

We want our best athletes to represent the Jalur Gemilang. There are no two ways about it. We want our best to challenge the world’s best, or in the case of the SEA Games, the region’s best, for top honours.

News that Fatin Ilyana Mat Nayan, who is among the four fastest women sprinters in the country at the moment, did not make the cut to join the SEA Games contingent, is disappointing and disturbing.

The selection of the 4x100m quartet should comprise of our four fastest women: Zaidatul Husniah Zulkifli, who has clocked 11.62s, followed by Nor Sarah Adi (11.89s), Azreen Nabila Alias (11.90s) and Fatin Ilyana Mat Nayan (11.97s).

This was correctly pointed out by Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu, who also called for the selection of athletes to the Hanoi Sea Games in May to be based on merit.

During my tenure as Deputy Youth and Sports Minister, the ministry has always advocated to national sports associations to be fair and transparent in the selection of athletes to international tournaments. The stand has always been that the best athletes must represent Malaysia.

We hope that the selection process is transparent to avoid allegations of bias. National sports associations should reveal and justify the selection process to inspire confidence among the rakyat that they uphold the principles of merit, integrity and good governance.

National interest must prevail. We need our best athletes to bring home the most medals. Majulah sukan untuk negara.

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