Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Gymnast Shu Wai keen to compete again after Budapest coaching stint


KUALA LUMPUR: A three-month coaching stint in Hungary has whetted the appetite of former international Ng Shu Wai to rebuild his career in artistic gymnastics.

And if everything falls into place, the Olympian could represent Malaysia at next year’s Commonwealth Games in India.

For a start, the 23-year-old is ready to meet National Sports Council (NSC) director general Datuk Zolkples Embong to look into the possibility of returning as a national gymnast and working towards becoming a coach.

Shu Wai, the Asian Games silver medallist who was dropped from the national training programme in 2007, said he was itching to get back into the thick of action.

“I have put the past behind. Now, I am looking at an opportunity to resume my career as a gymnast and also coach the youngsters in the country,” said Shu Wai.

“I will make an appointment with Datuk Zolkples to discuss my future.”

The NSC dropped Shu Wai from their elite programme in 2007 after he went missing from training. Even efforts by the Malaysian Gymnastics Federation (MGF) to salvage his career were in vain.

But he found a new lease of life when the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) gave him an opportunity to attend a three-month coaching course in Budapest, Hungary, from March to June last year.

He feels that the coaching course has made him wiser and more mature.

“I have learnt a lot of things. I found that being a coach is not easy at all. One has to be patient. I also learnt how to develop a good programme. Overall, the three-month stint has broadened my mind set,” he said.

“I am a new person now. I have put the bad experiences behind me. I want to impart my knowledge to the youngsters.”

Since returning as a certified coach, Shu Wai has been conducting private coaching for youngsters in Kajang and spending at least two hours a day polishing up his skills.

“Yes, I miss all the action. I have stayed abreast with the sport although I left the national team in 2007,” he said. “In fact, I have been keeping in touch with my friends in the China Olympic team about the new code of points,” added Shu Wai, who attended the wedding of Beijing Olympic Games individual all-around gold medallist Yang Wei of China in Hainan recently.

OCM secretary Datuk Sieh Kok Chi is hopeful that something good will come out of Shu Wai’s meeting with Zolkples.

“Zolkples is understanding and helpful. He will be able to advise Shu Wai on how best to explore the options,” said Kok Chi.

“Shu Wai is still young and the Commonwealth Games will be a good platform for him to start his career again.”

For the record, besides Shu Wai, nine others enjoyed the benefit of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Scholarship for Coaches programme in Budapest.

They were gymnasts Zambri Zainal Abidin (1997), Ching Joo Lan (2000), Rosniza Abu Bakar (2003) and Thye Chee Kiat (2005); fencer Tee Lian Hong (1998), swimmer Abdul Rahim Abdul Kadir (2001), basketball player Choo Seck Yun (2006), archer Othman Abdul Wahab and walker Yuan Yu Fang (2007).

This year, judo exponent Thevaraj Kasivisvanathan will be making the trip.

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