The Tunku Mahkota Ismail Sports School (SSTMI) in Johor has been instrumental in producing top class track and field athletes for Malaysia. But it looks like it is losing its touch.
From 2018, the athletes at the sports school have not had the support from a team of sports psychologist, physiotherapist, masseur and nutrition expert.
“It is sad that all the experts who helped the athletes perform better in competitions, are no longer based at SSTMI, ” said national sprint coach Mohd Poad Mohd Kassim.
“It could be because of financial reasons but it has affected the performance of my athletes, ” said Mohd Poad, who is a SSTMI teacher.
“To make matters worse, athletes who get injured have to get their treatment at the National Sports Institute (ISN) in Bukit Jalil.”
Among the stars to have risen from the system at SSTMI are 2017 SEA Games 100m gold medallist Khairul Hafiz Jantan and the recent Philippines SEA Games 100m winner Mohd Haiqal Hanafi .
“Khairul suffered a hamstring injury early this year and there is no physiotherapist to help him recover at SSTMI and he has to get his treatment at ISN in Bukit Jalil. It took him a few months to recover, ” said Mohd Poad.
“We hope the Youth and Sports Ministry can help us to get the sports experts to be stationed at SSTMI again.”
Khairul, who is from Melaka, won the SEA Games gold with a time of 10.38 at the KL SEA Games while Haiqal from Negri Sembilan clocked a personal best of 10.35 to bag the gold at the Philippines SEA Games.
Khairul, nicknamed “Speedy Jantan, ” holds the national record of 10.18 he clocked at the Malaysia Games (Sukma) in Kuching in 2016 to win gold. He was only 18 then.
Another SSTMI-based sprinter Mohd Zulfiqar Ismail qualified for the men’s 100m in the SEA Games by clocking 10.41 in April but had to pull out of the Games after suffering a hamstring injury in August.