OCM president Tunku Imran Tuanku Ja'afar

KUALA LUMPUR: Tunku Imran Tuanku Ja'afar will have no regrets as he winds down a 20-year career as the president of the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM).

Tunku Imran said he is happy to leave the OCM in a much stronger position after taking over the leadership from the late Tan Sri Hamzah Abu Samah on Nov 14, 1998.

The 68-year-old, who has long stated that he does not want to hold the position past the age of 70, announced last year that he will not defend his position at the OCM Annual General Meeting-cum-elections in June.

"There is plenty of unfinished business but that is ongoing, isn't it? It’s like when Tan Sri Hamzah stopped, we had to continue (his work)," said Tunku Imran.

"I have no regrets at all that I am resigning. I am very happy that I am leaving (Malaysian) sports in generally a much better position than when I started as OCM president 20 years ago.

"I also think OCM is in a better financial position than it has ever been. The direction of sports in Malaysia is also very positive.

"But we all know that it could be better, some sports could be much better and that is ongoing.

"At the end of the day, there are just so many factors to consider. Each sport is different, you cannot generalise when it comes to development... but there are some fundamentals that everybody should know."

Tunku Imran, who has also served as president of the Commonwealth Games and the Sea Games Federation, continued to stress the importance of grassroots development in the country.

"It always goes back to the grassroots. If the sport does not exist at the grassroots, where are you going to find your top athletes from in the long run?

"So, unless the state and national sports associations continue to nurture young athletes from the grassroots level, they are not going to produce world champions on a regular basis.

"That is something everyone has to understand, never forget your grassroots when you are developing a sport."

Tunku Imran has publicly backed current OCM deputy president Datuk Seri Norza Zakaria to take over the reins at the OCM.

KEYWORDS: OCM, Tunku Imran,

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