SPORTS, among the many sectors worldwide, was equally crippled and regarded as one of Covid-19 most visible casualties. But in Penang, a state that often leads in multiple areas, the sports industry is not to be left out as three key areas had been identified under the Penang Sports Masterplan to boost the said sector.
State Youth and Sports Committee chairman Soon Lip Chee said the masterplan is very important in shaping the future of sports in the state and has vowed to further boost it through three areas, namely athlete development, expanding and improving sports facilities and further promoting community-based sports.
“For a particular state or country to flourish in sports, the number of athletes needs to increase as well.
“So, under this initiative that is still in the planning stage, we will look into the possibility of identifying suitable individuals to call themselves as athletes to represent the various sports in the state.
“Secondly, the Penang State Sports Council would eye close collaboration with all the state assemblymen service centres to identify facilities within their areas that would require maintenance work for the greater good of the residents there.
“There may be a lot of individuals interested in sports, but they may not necessarily have the facility to expose their talents.
“That is why having proper sports facilities in residential areas is important so that the people there can enjoy as well as have the desire to perform even better,” Soon said during an exclusive interview with Buletin Mutiara at his office in Komtar today.
He also said the state government would work closely with the service centres to identify empty spaces in the state that could possibly be turned into a sports facility.
“For example, we only have one squash centre in the state. So, if there is an increasing need to have more of such premises, then we would identify areas that can be developed into a squash centre,” he added.
As for the third aspect under the masterplan, Soon said the state government would look to revamp or further promote community-based sports in the state.
Soon giving thumbs up with the Sports For All book
“Sports is all about unity and communication. When we get involved in sports, be it as a spectator or a sportsperson, we need to stand as one.
“Many rural areas in the state would still need proper education on sports. This field too can be as promising as other professional work that an individual would usually prefer to embark on.
“When we attempt to build a sports facility in a particular area, we must first understand the need of the community living there, and the kind of sports facility they would prefer,” he said with great enthusiasm.
Separately, Soon mentioned a few initiatives that were undertaken by his office that received overwhelming responses during this social unrest atmosphere in the name of Covid-19 pandemic, namely the Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge 2020, Penang Young Digital Talent, LiveNOW KOL Livestreaming Training Programme and many others.
“The pandemic in a way opened up multiple doors of opportunities. We have lived in this era of digitalisation for a year now, and it has largely become more like an inseparable being within us,” he added.
Soon said the state government would continue to prioritise the importance of young people involving themselves in sports through various initiatives in the near future.
Source: Buletin Mutiara