By : K.M. Boopathy
SPORTS Minister Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said has urged the Malaysia Taekwondo Association (MTA) to adopt an open selection system instead of setting conditions that stop exponents from other associations representing the nation.
Azalina said there should be a mechanism that allows the best to represent Malaysia, and not just those affiliated to MTA, just because they are recognised by the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF).
An open selection process, said Azalina, is the best way as it will give exponents from other registered taekwondo associations — Malaysia Taekwondo Federation (MTF), Malaysia Taekwondo Clubs Association (MTCA) and Malaysian International Taekwondo Federation — the opportunity to prove themselves and represent Malaysia.
MTA president Ho Kham Phaw said on Thursday that the national body is willing to have open trials for tournaments, but exponents selected would have to be affiliated with them to be considered for international duties.
He had said that MTF and MTCA are not recognised bodies, but Azalina said the topic doesn’t arise as they are registered with the Sports Commissioner’s Office under the Sports Development Act (1997) and have the liberty to continue functioning.
"We accepted MTA with the condition they must have an open policy when it comes to the selection process where taekwondo exponents from other bodies, including MTF, MTCA and also ITF, should be given equal chance," said Azalina.
"MTA is recognised internationally (by WTF) to run the sport in the country, but that doesn’t mean we have to terminate the other bodies. It just doesn’t work that way.
"I don’t agree that only MTA members can represent the country and they must have a liberal system that everyone is given a fair chance to represent the country.
"The open system should involve trials where all the exponents, including the ones under the ITF system, are also given the opportunity.
"Taekwondo cannot be just one form. We must allow the other associations to run. MTF and MTCA have been registered under the Sports Development Act and are recognised bodies and they should continue their functioning.
"We hope that they can sit together and solve the matter."
Azalina hopes MTA will not suppress the efforts of the others to develop the sport, as this is one of the main reasons that led to the association’s de-registration in May, 2005.
Taekwondo has been given a chance, as Azalina said, to put itself on the right footing, and the sport should not let the chance go.