KUALA LUMPUR: Former Amateur Swimming Union of Malaysia (ASUM) honorary secretary Datuk Sieh Kok Chi believes it is necessary for all aquatic disciplines have their own national bodies to ensure their progress.
Kok Chi said it is very difficult for ASUM to comprehensively manage and develop the five aquatic disciplines: swimming, synchronised swimming, open water swimming, diving and water polo.
The former national water polo player had served as Selangor Amateur Swimming Association (SASA) honorary secretary from 1971-1975 and as ASUM honorary secretary from 1975-1981.
“When I was the secretary for SASA and ASUM, I found that I had to spend 90 per cent of my time managing and developing swimming, eight per cent on water polo, two per cent on diving and zero per cent on synchronised swimming,” said Kok Chi.
“Due to the work load, I did not hold on to my position with SASA when I became ASUM secretary.
“No official can have the time, knowledge, experience, capacity and resources to be in charge of five aquatics sports, which are very much different from each other from a technical perspective.
“Under five separate national associations, each can draw up their strategic plans, raise their own funds and also appeal for governmental support individually.”
Using water polo as an example, Kok Chi claimed that placing all five disciplines under ASUM had hampered their development over the years.
“Since then (early 1980s) I can say that nothing much, if anything has been done by ASUM, other than through MSN.
“From my observation, the status of water polo today, compared to 50 years ago remains almost the same. No progress, expansion and improvements. It will remain the same for the next 50 years, if no changes are made.
“With the exception of swimming, the situation for the other three aquatics sports is also the same.”
Kok Chi said it was sufficient for diving and water polo to break away for a start.
“Swimming, open water swimming and synchronised swimming do have a number of similarities, so I believe it is okay for them to remain under one association for the time being.
“Diving and water polo, however, are completely different and need to be on their own.”