KUALA LUMPUR, July 28 (Bernama) -- The dreams of national taekwondo exponents who had hoped to compete in the Laos SEA Games was dashed when the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) Tuesday decided not to send the taekwondo team.
OCM Honorary secretary Datuk Sieh Kok Chi said the decision was made because Malaysia does not have a legitimate governing body for the sport as the Malaysian Taekwondo Association (MTA) was deregistered on July 5, 2007 by the Sports Commissioner.
"Technically, we cannot send a team to the Games as long as a new MTA is not formed quickly," Kok Chi told Bernama when contacted here Tuesday.
Taekwondo, embroiled in controversy since 2005, was not among the 20 sports listed by OCM for the Laos SEA Games.
In the SEA Games scheduled from Dec 9-18, Malaysia are taking part in 20 of the 25 sports hosted, namely aquatics, archery, athletics, badminton, billiard & snooker, boxing, cycling, football, golf, judo, karate-do, pencak silat, petanque, sepak takraw, shooting, table tennis, tennis, volleyball, weightlifting and wushu.
Meanwhile, MTA's former vice president Nur Ekmal Buhary said he was sad that athletes have become the victims due to internal conflicts within the association.
"I hope the MTA Ad-hoc committee headed by non other than the OCM president Tunku Tan Sri Imran Tuanku Ja'afar will be able to resolve the matter before it is too late," he said.
Nur Ekmal said when the MTA was deregistered, the responsibility to take care of athletes under MTA, falls under the purview of the Ad-hoc committee and they should not treat the issue lightly.
He added that due to the uncertainty of MTA's status, national taekwondo exponents had not been competing in any international competitions and if the situation persisted, it may turn away prospective exponents and those who are already in the national squad.
"I hope the OCM can do something to save the situation and provide an opportunity for taekwondo exponents to compete in the SEA Games," he said.
He added that though taekwondo faced a similar predicament before the 2007 Korat SEA Games in Thailand and the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the OCM had intervened to enable national exponents to compete in both Games.