Take better care of the country's athletes

Take better care of the country's athletes
The Brunei Darussalam National Olympic Council stated that the reasons were “lacking of sports facilities, accommodation and not enough preparation for the athletes”.

DEAR EDITOR,

It is with great interest that I read your front page story last Friday titled "Brunei will not host SEA Games 2019".

The Brunei Darussalam National Olympic Council stated that the reasons were "lacking of sports facilities, accommodation and not enough preparation for the athletes", and I have to agree that the decision not to organise it is the right one as it would not be a wise use of resources.

It is also probably for the best since Brunei's athletes are nowhere near the standard of our regional counterparts. Take for example our performance at the 2013 SEA Games in Myanmar.

Even a newly formed country like Timor Leste beat us in the medal tally after winning two gold medals.

The money spent organising the Games could be better utilised. This year's Games in Singapore is supposed to cost around $324.5 million, and you can read about Singaporeans grumbling how the money and resources could have been better spent.

If the relevant authorities really wanted to organise the SEA Games in Brunei, I feel that money could be better spent sending our athletes to compete abroad on a regular basis and take better care of their welfare by giving them allowances. Upgrading facilities just for the SEA Games will have little long-term gain for the average Bruneian.

What we will get are white elephants the likes that were constructed for the 2004 Olympics in Athens - decaying and abandoned stadiums and venues that cost millions to build.

Building hotels just for the SEA Games? We should follow Singapore's lead as they are putting up the 7,000 athletes and officials in hotels around the city.

Let me share with you a snippet from British newspaper Guardian published in 2012 that I came across while doing some research for this letter.

"They've let the whole place go to pot," says Dimitris Dimitriou, a bank worker escorting his nine-year-old son to a fencing lesson at one of the site's five installations.

Then Dimitriou, who was 28 when Athens Olympics opened , mutters what every Greek now fears. "And, to think, we are still paying for all this. It's part of the reason why our country is broke. And I hate the thought but he will be paying for it, too," he says, pointing to his son.

So let us learn from past mistakes and let use our resources wisely. We owe it to the next generation to do so.

Watson Nyambek

 

[When a reader is not happy about something and wants Brunei to know about it or act on a problem or issue, this is a column where the complaint is posted.]

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