Friday, June 29, 2007


That will be the correct terminology to describe the scene outside the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil last night when Malaysia took on Jamaica in a friendly international to prepare for the Asia Cup.

With the match already underway (kick off was 8.35pm as opposed to the normal 8.45pm), several thousand fans lost their cool as there was only one location selling tickets. Hence they broken down the gate and gained entry.

Hopefully the fans will show the same drive to support the team when the Asia Cup gets underway on July 10 with Malaysia taking on China in the opening match. For the record Malaysia lost 2-0 to Jamaica. The first half performance was scrappy but the Malaysian team put up a much improved performance in the second 45 minutes but were unlucky not to score despite creating several chances.

Friday, June 22, 2007


Come June 29, Badminton World Federation (BWF) Chief Operation Officer Ganga Rao will face a domestic inquiry set up to hear allegations against the 45 year old who is also the Hon. Secretary of Badminton Association of Malaysia.

The "trumped up" charges against Ganga, said to be initiated by a senior official, include spreading rumours with regards to the health of the said official of BWF, taking instruction from the President of BWF, assuming the post of COO ileaglly and sending out emails that are said to be damaging to BWF. (The email charge is something that the Malaysian Police are investigating as Ganga has lodged a police report.)

Nonetheless Ganga faces an uphill battle to clear his name as the composition of the Domestic Inquiry is said to be questionable for the three persons appointed are said to have an axe to grind against Ganga based on their conduct during the Council Meeting. The trio that are to decide Ganga's fate are : Varma (India), Tong Vai Loon (Hong Kong) and Wayne Summers (Canada).

Ganga has nothing to lose as he has served badminton faithfully and with honesty all these years. He will fight to clear his name, but what happens after that is yet to be seen. One thing is certain, Ganga's only option left is to leave BWF and let it self destruct. For the many Brutus's in BWF come in all shapes in sizes.


In honour of Tan Sri Noordin Hassan, who served as President of the Kuala Lumpur Hockey Association, a testimonial match comprising of players that represented Kuala Lumpur over the last three decades will be held on July 3rd 2007 at the Kuala Lumpur Hockey Association Stadium.
The two teams will be led by fomer Malaysian skippers, with N. Sri Shanmuganathan and Sarjit Singh leading Team A while R. Ramakrishnan and Nor Saiful Zaini will take charge of Team B.
Amongst the players that have confirmed their participation in the testimonial match are former national coaches Stephen Van Huizen, Wallace Tan and Yahya Atan as well as former international from the 80’s to the 90’s in the likes of Colin Sta Maria, James Murthy, Mirnawan Nawawi, Calvin Fernandez, Shanker Ramu, Tai Beng Hai and ex women internationals K. Maheswari, Lum Sau Fong and Christina Chin.
In addition to the match, KLHA will also be holding an appreciation dinner for Tan Sri Noordin on July 6th at the Royal Selangor Club.

Thursday, June 21, 2007


The debate has started on the pro and cons of having foreign players in the M-League. While a brain storming session will be held on June 25 at the Bluewave Hotel in Shah Alam, the critics are now questioning the decision of having foreign plsyers in the league. If not mistaken, there is a rule that prevents teams from signing up foreign goalkeepers. Take a look at the goal scorers list and you will find only two Malaysians in the top ten list of goalscorers for each of the leagues. Mohd Khalid Jamlus from Perak (12) and Azlan Ismail from Perlis (9) are the top local strikers in the Super League while Mohd Harris Safwan from UPB-MyTeam FC (8) and Mohd Fareed Shah from PKNS (5) are in the top ten of the Premier League. Maybe the answer is not completly barring the foreign players but reducing them to just two per team, and that too limited to just midfielders and defenders. Food for thought?



Shahrazain Said DPMM FC 19
Keita Mandjou PERAK 19
Marlon Alex James KEDAH 17
Walter Silva JOHOR FC 16
Mohd Khalid Jamlus PERAK 12
Sharlei Miranda TERENGGANU 11
Phillemon Chepita PERLIS 10
Frederico Dos Santos NEGERI SEMBILAN 9
Azlan Ismail PERLIS 9
Chaswe Nsofwa TELEKOM FC 8


Marin Mikac UPB-MyTEAM FC 13
Abdulafees Abdusalam SHAHZAN MUDA 12
Charles Obi SABAH 11
Victor Alejandro SHAHZAN MUDA 8
Mohd Haris Safwan UPB-MyTEAM FC 8
Martin Carlos KL PLUS FC 7
Dejan Miljanic UPB-MyTEAM FC 6
Michael Barasa PDRM 6
Mohd Fareed Shah Hasan PKNS 5
John Mawalma PDRM 5


The Malaysian National Football team got their wish to play a friendly match at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil. The go-ahead finally came from the stadium authorities yesterday. Thus Malaysia will take on the Reggae Boys, Jamaica, on June 28 at the National Stadium. This will Malaysia's final warm up match before the Asia Cup next month.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007


Tenaga Nasional Berhad or Thunderbolts as they are now known, blasted eight goals past Bukit Jalil Sports School at the KLHA Stadium in Pantai this evening. The Thunderbolts led 5-0 at the breather but missed several sitters and could have gone to double figures had they taken the chances that came their way. Still the win was a welcome relieft for a team, that had suffered two defeats in as many matches last week.

In another match played at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil, table toppers E&Y kept up their winning run when they defeated Maybank 2-1. The start of the match was delayed after the lights at the main pitch blew and the match was shifted to the adjoining pitch.


The match between UPB-MyTeam FC in the Premier League has been re-scheduled to July 2 at the Tuanku Abdul Rahman Stadium in Paroi, Seremban, Negeri Sembilan. This match was initially slated for July 31, but the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) made changes to the fixtures following the fact that PDRM and MyTeam have already ensured promotion to the Super League for the 2007/2008 season. With no stadiums available in Klang Valley following the influx of foreign teams preparing for the Asia Cup, the only alternative available was to play the match in Seremban.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


R. RAMAKRISHNAN can never forget the moment. There were tears in his eyes as he celebrated Malaysia's win overHolland.

There were Malaysian flags all over and in their moment of glorythey thought the flags reached up to the heavens.

That 2-1 win carved a place for Malaysia in the semifinals of the 1975 World Cup. The scenes at the Kilat ground were unbelieveable. The key to the success was the fact that the team believed in themselves and were never under pressure to perform.

"There were no specific targets. Mind you we finished second last in the`73 World Cup.

"But we set out to defeat the teams that we knew we could beat. From the onset we knew we had to win the matches against teams who were on par with us and against the more fancied ones we gave our best," said Rama.

The striking aspects of Rama's game were his ability to produce defence-splitting passes and this helped the national cause. Though he had the distinction of playing in three World Cups, the 1975 edition the jewel in the crown of his career.

"The team of `75 were very special," he recalled. "We had depth in the squad and this played a major role in our success."

The understanding among Rama, Poon Fook Loke and Franco de Cruz who combined in the middle, was especially good.

"It was not done overnight. We spent long hours after practice to chalk out strategies." Rama, a feared right-inside during his hey days, played his part in the tournament by creating match-winning opportunities for his teammates.

But what has this fine player of yore got back from the country he so dearly loves? Nothing. Not even an award.

"We do not know how to recognise champions. And probably we deserve the tainted cash-rich stars who have taken Malaysian sports to its very nadir of late."

There was very little in terms of financial gains but then Rama comes from an era where money was very much secondary to the game.

The young players of those years respected him and on occasions sought his advice. It was a rather unique bond. During weekends, Rama spends time with young boys in Teluk Intan,teaching them the finer points of the game.

For it was here that Rama himself learnt the game. Rama carried on for a couple of more years before leaving the scene in 1981, disillusioned by the state of affairs in Malaysian hockey.

But not before he made one last major contribution by helping the team qualify forthe 1982 Bombay World Cup.


NAME: R. Ramakrishnan
AGE: 48
PLACE OF BIRTH: Teluk Intan, Perak.
POSITION: Half/Forward
MARITAL STATUS: Married to Kusala Kumari.
CHILDREN: Daughter: Ganeshree Devi (16)Son: Shri Ganesh (14)
PROFESSION: Director-Operations with Kris International Traveltours(Malaysia) Sdn Bhd also Legal Executive for Sri Indra Jaya Holdings SdnBhd
WORLD CUPS: 1973 (Amsterdam),1975 (Kuala Lumpur),1978 (Buenos Aires)
OLYMPICS: 1976 (Montreal)
ASIAN GAMES: 1974 (Tehran),1978 (Bangkok)
INTER CONTINENTAL CUP: 1981 (Kuala Lumpur)
CAPS: 102
OTHER ACHEIVEMENTS: Asian All Stars (1974)


MERDEKA STADIUM and Stadium Negara - two national landmarks and scenes ofsome of the greatest moments in Malaysia - will not be demolished as planned.

The Sports Ministry want the two stadiums to resume staging sportingevents, five years after the government had given the developer UEM thegreenlight to consign the historical landmarks into history.

Discussions to this effect are in the advanced stages between the SportsMinistry and Pengurusan Danaharta Nasional Berhad, the current owners of the land.

This was disclosed to The Malay Mail by Sports Ministry's secretarygeneral Datuk Mahamad Zabri Min yesterday.

Pemodalan Nasional Bhd (PNB) have taken over the 13.08 hectare piece of land from United Engineers Malaysia Bhd (UEM).

The site, occupied by Stadium Merdeka, Stadium Negara and ChangkatPavillion, was acquired through Pengurusan Danaharta Nasional Bhd last year.

It is now owned by PNB's PNB Merdeka Ventures Sdn Bhd. The government had granted UEM the right to develop the land in exchange for building two stadiums at Bukit Kiara and five stadiums at Bukit Jalil which were used for the Commonwealth Games.

"We are currently in negotiations with Danaharta on how best we can utilise the two stadiums. They are agreeable to the two stadiums being utilised for sports once again," said Zabri.

"This is because the owners have no intention of developing the site of the two stadiums for the time being. However, they plan to develop theChangkat Pavillion area but this will not affect the stadiums.

"Our immediate plan will be to ensure that the two stadiums conform to the safety standards required to hold sporting or other events."

"The mechanism on who will operate the stadiums has yet to be worked out but on our part, we intend to get the sports who were originally using thetwo stadiums to start using them again."

Zabri said that by re-activating the two stadiums it did not mean that the Ministry were intending to wage a competition between the two stadiums and the National Sports Complex.

"It is more to complement the needs of the sporting and cultural fraternity. It should be healthy rivalry and not something that should belooked at negatively."

Zabri said the Ministry also intend to offer office space to sports associations who need it.

"One has to remember that Stadium Negara once housed the offices of the National Sports Council.

"And with its location, I am sure it will entice many associations to move in there."

The proposal by the Ministry will indeed be welcomed by those in the sporting fraternity as there has been a dearth of sports facilities in the city centre.

In fact, the schools look to gain the most as many a time sports meets were held in the Merdeka Stadium.

As for Stadium Negara, it can be utilised for sports like netball,badminton as well as indoor hockey which was once played there between 1980 to 1983.


IF Brian Sta Maria could go back in time, there is only one thing he wouldwant to do. That is to throw his body in the path of the bullet coming off India'sAslam Sher Khan's penalty corner hit in the 65th minute of their 1975World Cup semifinal clash at Merdeka Stadium.

Until then Malaysia were close to pushing India over the cliff as theyled 2-1 through goals by Poon Fook Loke and Sri Shanmuganathan.

"I was the first runner in the penalty corner situations and saw theball hit by Aslam slip under my stick.

"When it was all over I wished I had thrown my body in the path ofAslam's shot for it would have given us a place in the final."

But to be fair to Brian he had thwarted the penalty corner attempts by another Indian fullback, Surjit Singh. It was a case of being in the national team at the wrong time for Brian.

For when he was at his peak, he had to contend with A. Francis, who together with Sri Shanmuganathan formed a solid defence. But Brian took it all in his stride as he toiled to prove his worth and make the national team.

It was football, not hockey, that was Brian's first love and he even represented Negri Sembilan in the Burnley Cup (now the Razak Cup) in 1969as a goalkeeper.

But on the encourgament of his mentor, Lawrence van Huizen (father of current national coach Stephen), Brian took up hockey seriously and never looked back.

Brian made his debut for Malaysia in 1969 and quit the national team asa disillusioned man after the 1978 World Cup. The events that led to his retirement still rankle as he recalls the fateful day he decided to give up hockey.

"The team had just returned from Argentina when M. Mahendran asked a photographer to take his picture for he wanted to retire.

"Alagendra (now Tan Sri) told me to join Mahendran too. That to me was an indication that my services were no longer required.

"The words did affect me and I quit the national scene. Still, I hold no bitterness against anyone."

Brian's career had its down side as he was suspended for a year for refusing to don national colours and had to miss the 1976 Montreal Olympics as a consequence.

"All I did was ask for a break as I had been playing hockey continously but they wouldn't allow it.

"Compare that with the current situation where you find officials begging players to play on.

"This is what Malaysian hockey does not need. Ban them if they refuse toplay. Why must the rules change now. After all the officials are the sameones as in 1976."

Brian quite clearly recalls the day he was fielded against India following an injury to the no-nonsense Francis.

With the score at 0-0, Francis was replaced after pulling a hamstring. And in stepped Brian.

"The semifinal against India was rained off but not before Francis aggravated his hamstring injury.

"I knew I would have to face the Indians and boy was I nervous. It took me almost 20 minutes to settle down in that match. But the fact that we were leading helped."

With Malaysia playing the pyramid system, Brian was entrusted to markout India's inside left B.P. Govinda.

"India were a skilful side and made life difficult for us. But we gave them one hell of a fright."

Brian, who came on mostly as a substitute in the tournament save for the3rd placing match against West Germany, was adept at defending on eitherflank.

He saw action against New Zealand, Spain and Poland prior to thesemi final clash with India.

"The advantage we had in 1975 was that the team had been kept together since 1970 with few changes.

"In fact, there were only five changes to the 1975 team from the onethat played in the 1970 Asian Games.

"This helped us build a good understanding and that served us well inthe World Cup."

Name: Brian Sta Maria
Age: 52
Date of Birth: 12-9-1949
Position: Fullback
Profession: Director of Suci Cleaning Services
Marital Status: Married to Elaine LumChildren: Trevor Calvin Sta Maria (16)Shaun Kingsley Sta Maria (12)Amanda Jane Sta Maria (5)
Awards: Pingat Jasa Kebaktian (1975)
World Cup: 1973 (Amsterdam), 1975 (Kuala Lumpur), 1978 (Buenos Aires)
Olympics: 1972 (Munich)
Asian Games: 1970 (Bangkok), 1974 (Tehran), 1978 (Bangkok)
International Career : 1969 to 1978
Caps: 114
Coaching Career: None


JOHN TERRY is making a name for himself in the Chelsea backfour. So much so that the Blues fans have been chanting "Terry for England" during theirmatches of late.

The Chelsea fans have picked Terry as their Player of The Year for 2001ahead of several established names like Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, Marcel Desailly and Mark Bosnich.

At 21, he is the second youngest player to have been given the accoladeby the Chelsea fans after the legendary Ray Wilkins won it at the age of19 in 1976.

And the England Under-21 skipper knows it is only a matter of time before England coach Sven Erikkson pens his name down for one of the several friendlies that have been lined up for England's campaign towards the World Cup.

But Terry is not going to lose any sleep if he is not picked. Not when he has the chance to lead the England Under-21 team for the European Championship.

"Obviously playing in the World Cup is something every player dreams of. It is the tournament for any footballer and why should it be different for me. But the final decision lies with the manager," said Terry when met byMailsport at the Chelsea training ground in Harlington.

"As for now, all I aim to do is play well for Chelsea and play a big part in the Under-21 team."

Having had the distinction of playing under two Italian managers,Gianluca Vialli and Claudio Ranieri, and David Platt - who spent aconsiderable amount of his career in Italy - Terry said he has not changed his style of play.

"Though the three of them have all an Italian flair but that has not changed my game one bit. I am English through and through and have not developed any Italian characteristics," said Terry.

Both friends and foes alike have given Terry the hardman tag for his uncompromising tackles on the pitch. But unlike his predecessors, Chopper Harris and Vinny Jones, who were nicknamed "Chopper" and "Psycho" respectively, Terrry prefers to be called"JT".

Having played alongside players like Graeme Le Saux, Gianfranco Zola,Desailly and Frank Leboeuf has helped Terry develop as a world-class central defender.

"Le Saux helps me on the pitch by constantly talking to me. As for Zola,he helped me a lot when I was a youngster and still does the same. We do one-to-one tackles after training and though I am slightly better attacking him, it's still not enough. He is truly world class."

It is Desailly that Terry speaks of with great respect. For the FrenchWorld Cup medal winner has been displaced by his prodigy, Terry, in Chelsea.

"It's without doubt that he is the best defender in the world. To be given an opportunity to play alongside him has helped my game mature."said Terry.

"But he has been unlucky with injuries of late and that has allowed Gallas (William) to team up with me in the heart of defence. Sometimes. I look at the situation and feel awkward for Desailly who now has fight for a place against someone who looked upon him with admiration."

Terry has the distinction of marking three of the great names in theEnglish Premier League - Thierry Henry, Ruud van Nielstroy and MichaelOwen. Of the trio, Terry said the most difficult player to mark has to be Henry.

"He is very skilful and is able to pressure a defender in making mistakes. He has this uncanny appearance of being lazy but when he is onsong, it spells nightmare for the defenders," said Terry.

"Owen has speed and given half a yard, would leave defenders trailing in his wake."

Despite the lucrative fees available should he ply his trade in Europe,Terry has no plans to move out of Stamford Bridge.

"I have been with Chelsea since I was 14 and would like to stay as longas possible," he said.

"You don't get too many one-club players these days but I definitelywant to stay with Chelsea for the rest of my career."

And Malaysian fans of Chelsea may well get an opportunity to see the newkid on the block for he is considering coming to our shores, courtesy of Emirates Air.


Name: John Terry
Date of birth: Dec 7, 1980
Place of birth: Barking, England
Height: 6ft 1in. Weight: 181lb
Chelsea debut: Against Oldham Athletic FA Cup (3rd rd, Jan 3, 1999).
First Chelsea goal: Against Gillingham FA Cup 6th rd, Feb 19, 2000).
Also played for: England Under-21 (nine caps - skipper).


FORWARD M. Mahendran has likened the camaraderie of the 1975 World Cuphockey squad akin to the HBO miniseries Band of Brothers.

This he says wasthe single most reason on the success of the team in emerging fourth inthe last World Cup played on Malaysian soil.

"We were all single minded in our approach and wanted to bring glory tothe country. There were no prima donnas in the team those days for every player knewthat teamwork was essential to ensure success. We had the barest minimumin terms of training facilities, encouragement or incentives," said Mahendran.

"But that never discouraged us one bit for we knew that the hopes of thenation were on our shoulders."

He said the national players at that time trained three sessions a day. A day would start off with a 15 mile run followed by a training sessionat 11.00am. Another training session would be held at 3.00pm before they called it a day.

"All this physical training helped us to be one of the fittest squads inthe World Cup," said Mahendran.

Mahendran made his debut for the national team at a relativly young ageof 21. But as fate would have it, an injury during training put paid to his hopes of playing in the Mexico Olympics the same year.

"It was disappointing to say the least but I never let it get to me.Rather I doubled my efforts and continued to fight for a place in thenational side."

He was rewarded for his efforts in 1972 when he was named as theSportsman of the Year.
Winning it was all the more satisfying, as he had to fend off achallenge by the Towkay Soh Chin Aun.

"I suppose the votes swung in my favour following my good performance both in the Munich Olympics as well as the Regional Tournament where I emerged as top scorer."

Coming back to the 1975 World Cup, Mahendran said team spirit was verygood be it in training or during the tournament.

One for all and all for one may be the rallying call for the ThreeMusketeers but many do not know that the national hockey team were usingit as well.

"We stood together in tense situations during a match and never allowed any of our teammates to be bullied. I guess this was what earned us the respect of other teams for they knew that the Malaysians were prepared fora fight collectively."

Besides creating scoring opportunities, Mahendran managed to get on the score sheet twice against Poland and Pakistan. Mahendran said that another contributory factor in their success was the ability of the players to play in several positions.

One does not have to look too far to justify his argument. Mahendran played as right inside, right wing and eventually left wing during theWorld Cup.

"This was an advantage. The players were versatile and therefore able to play in any position. This meant that no one was assured of his position and kept the competitiveness for a place in the team wide open."

Mahendran had the distinction of coming up against the late VirenderSingh, the Indian right half in the semifinals.

Virender is well known for his stiff tackles that put Pakistan'smercurial left wing Samiullah out of action barely minutes into the WorldCup Final.

"Well, I think he knew better than to try any of his tricks on me forthe Malaysians had a reputation of playing dirty when required," said Mahendran with a laugh.


Name: M. Mahendran
Age: 55
Position: Forward
Marital Status: Married
Children: Ganesh
Occupation: Maintenance Manager Grand Centrepoint Hotel
National Team Debut: Regional Championship, Pakistan 1968 Caps: 179
Awards: AMN 1976, Sportsman of The Year 1972
Asian Games: 1970 Bangkok, 1974 Tehran
Olympics: 1972 Munich, 1976 Montreal
World Cup: 1973 Amsterdam, 1975 Kuala Lumpur, 1978 Buenos Aires.
Coaching Qualification: Level Three
Coaching Experience: Indonesia 1987,1989,196,1997; Thailand 1998;National Juniors 1994/1995; Malaysian B Team: 1987/88; Malaysian SeniorTeam: 1989-1991


LOCATING Paul Stoddart, the principal owner of the Minardi Formula 1 team,in England is no easy task.
He had not replied the e-mail I sent him a week earlier. But on the day I was due to fly back to Malaysia, the man himself got intouch with me and invited me over to his plant in Ledbury.

Ledbury? It was supposed to be a little country town where the Minardiheadquarters was located.

I didn't know the place existed and neither did the locals I asked. But following the directions given by Stoddart, I found myself standingin front of the magnificent building that housed the Minardi outfit.

Ledbury, west of London, is wrapped in the mists of hundreds of yearspast. Just down the road at company headquarters, Australian Paul Stoddart ishoping to write his own history.

But with the ink on the contract still drying, Stoddart only had weeksto build what most teams take years to achieve. At this massive factory, he is quietly accumulating the machinery and the know-how to get into the big league.

It started with an aviation empire built partly on incredible goodfortune and bad management in Australia.

When the Australian Government sold off its VIP aircraft, Paul Stoddart was the buyer. To his surprise, the deal came with spares worth millions! Minardi was saved. And Australia had its first owner since Jack Brabham.

With careful planning, a bit of luck and a few hundred million dollars,Minardi and Stoddart could one day swim in the champagne of Formula Onesuccess.

Stoddart admits the journey in Formula 1 will be a long and tediousprocess but he has set his long-term objectives. In 17 seasons Gian Carlo Minardi managed a couple of fourths and 28points.

"I want to be the person that actually puts a Minardi driver on thepodium," says Stoddart. You need a bit of luck but, more than that, you need the infrastructureand resources to get that podium when the chance comes along. I want toachieve that by 2003."

On why someone from the aviation industry is so taken up by motorsports,Stoddart says: "I saved the team from extinction as it deserved savingbecause of the tradition of over 17 years.

"And along the way we have become one eleventh, and later one twelfth,of Formula One. I think that is a pretty good position to be in as F1 is abusiness and to be one of the only 12 players is well worth the money wehave actually spent.

"My long-term strategy is to get Minardi off the bottom. All I want, andI'm not greedy, is one podium finish."

One of the more difficult tasks for Stoddart has been to secure areliable engine. The partnership with Asiatech was on the cards for some time and so itdid not come as a surprise but more as a relief to a team that has usedoutmoded Ford engines for too long.

While Stoddart was looking to major steps forward in 2002 in terms ofperformance, when he thought he had a chance at a Cosworth or Ferrariunit, the Asiatech deal has made him revise his opinion and aim at mid-grid respectability.

One thing the team will have, though, is more money. Malaysia's Alex Yoong, who is about to race a full season from theAustralian Grand Prix onwards, has brought on board Magnum Corporation assponsors.

Malaysia is coming into Formula One in a big way and Stoddart has takensteps to ensure a long-term relationship. He has the weight of the entirecountry behind him, a shrewd move for the future.

"We are going ahead with an academy for drivers in Malaysia. "It will start with karts. The Malaysian government supports motorsportand you will find a graduation process from karts through the juniorformulae to F3000 to find the next F1 driver.

"A lot of kids don't get a chance and to be honest it doesn't cost usthe national debt to take an interest in a country that takes an interestin us.

"The government isn't putting a penny into this, but they have facilitated introductions for us to companies that are happy to invest.

"Now it's time for us to give a little bit back. We do that through the two-seater programme and try to give a little bit more, because we need to.

"We need a niche. Why should somebody come to Minardi when they can go further up the grid? "The answer is that we've got more to give."

When asked if cementing a relationship with Malaysia means turning his back on Australia, Stoddart said: "Not at all. The problem with Australia is that they will probably onlysupport the first driver to get into F1. It may well be Mark Webber. Themultinationals, like Foster's, are all event sponsors."

Team history

1979 - Team founded by Giancarlo Minardi.
1985 - Formula One debut with Italian Pierluigi Martini.
1989 - First points (fifth and sixth in Britain).
1991- Ferrari engines take team to best season, finishing seventh withsix points.
1992 - Powered by Lamborghini engines.
1994 - Team enters into alliance with Scuderia Italia.
1996 - Flavio Briatore and Gabriele Rumi, who owned the former Fondmetalteam, acquire majority stake in team.
1997 - Briatore sells shares to Rumiand leaves company.
1998 - Austrian designer Gustav Brunner, who designed the car in 1993,returns to Minardi. 1999 - Cesare Fiorio arrives as team manager.
2000 - Team sold to Australian businessman Stoddart, who buys Rumi'sstake, after failed attempt to sell to Pan American Sports Network (PSN).Minardi remains as team director.


MALAYSIAN sports hit dreamy heights this year when the country finallyconquered the SEA Games as hosts. Malaysia's 111 gold-medal haul was their highest-ever in the biennialGames and fittingly, we became overall champions for the very first time.
No one, apart from the athletes it seems, relished the magical momentmore than National Sports Council's (NSC) director-general Datuk WiraMazlan Ahmad.
Returning after a year recovering from a heart bypass, Mazlan gainedtotal relief from seeing a grand dream realised to its full magnitude.
But while his tortured heart rests more easily now, there's still muchfor Malaysian sports to develop on. As the statistics recount the glorious moments by itself, Mazlan can'thelp but look back on some of the misses that left some rough spots whichbadly need to be ironed out before new heights can be scaled.

He relates it all to Mailsport's S.S. DHALIWAL:

"This year will be remembered mostly for our unprecedented success inthe SEA Games. One-hundred-and-eleven gold (28.3 per cent), 75 silver(19.23 per cent) and 85 bronze (17.06 per cent) medals are our highesthaul ever, since we started in the SEAP or SEA Games.

"We also became overall champions for the first time and dominated 12 ofthe 32 sports contested.

"Before this, our finest gold medal haul came in 1989, also in KL wherewe took 67 gold (22.11 per cent). Our best finish outside home came at the1999 Games in Brunei where 57 gold (24.4 per cent) were won.

"I could go on and on, on these wonderful statistics. But wait. While wehave been successful, we also need to stay successful. And that can onlyhappen when we remind ourselves of our shortcomings, admit our faults andact on them.

"We have an urgent reminder of all that in athletics, given the sport'sfailure to meet its target by half in the SEA Games.

"To arrest its decline, we now have the MAAU Task Force. Set up by theSports Minister through the Sports Development Act of 1997, we hope itwill not only better the sport's management, but also widen its activitiesthroughout the country.

"We have to act fast - athletics offers 46 gold medals at events likethe SEA Games, Asian and Commonwealth Games and the Olympics.

"As a reminder to other sports associations, the Sports Development Actapplies to all of them equally if there's a need.

"Its objective is to improve the management of sports in associationswhich have problems associated with fulfilling their objectives.

"Associations whose athletes are not getting the results have to buck upand find ways to improve their performances or else the Sports Minister orCommissioner will have to come in.

"Another letdown came from our national youth hockey team, which onlyfinished 12th out of 16 teams in the Junior World Cup in Hobart. But thenagain, we did not even qualify for the 1997 edition.

"Our cyclists also were quite a disappointment, managing only 22nd inthe Tour de Langkawi, and failing to retain their East Asian title.

"Our shooters are still struggling to make the impact they desire at theworld stage, despite the rise in their points.

"A few sports experienced a slump at Asian level, especiallybodybuilding, which uncharacteristically failed to win a medal at theAsian Championships.

"It was also unsatisfactory to see netball managing only third at theAsian championships, behind Sri Lanka and Singapore.

"Finally, much of my discontent also stems from the perception of somequarters who still gauge the progress of Malaysian sports through onlysoccer, badminton and sepaktakraw.

"That, I must say, is unfair when you look at the many other sports thathave made good progress of their own.

"It's been a very encouraging year for Malaysian sports as a whole, onthe regional and also international stages, and I'm pleased to note themerits heavily outweigh the demerits.

"But the striving for excellence is a never-ending journey. In what is ahighly positive year for Malaysian sports, it is still only the beginning.So, let's stop resting on our laurels and refocus on what's ahead now."


Aquatics, synchronised swimming, netball, hockey (men and women), lawnbowls, squash, weightlifting and silat.


Aquatics (swimming and diving), equestrian, gymnastics, karate, sailing,basketball (w), wushu, badminton, golf (m), shooting and boxing.


Football (m), volleyball (m), archery, tennis (w), petanque andbasketball (m).


Cycling, billiards and snooker, taekwondo, athletics and sepaktakraw.


Aquatics (waterpolo), football (w), golf (w), judo, volleyball (w),fencing, rowing, ping pong and tennis (m).


Diving: Asia Cup Diving Championships, China (three golds and twobronzes). The achievement of the divers at the world championships inJapan placed them as second amongst Asian countries in two events - 10msynchro platform and three-metre synchro springboard. Cycling: ACC Championships, Taipei (Josiah Ng - Keirin - fourth). AsianJunior championships, Taipei (two silvers and 2 bronzes). Squash: Asian Junior Championships, India (three golds and two silvers). Bowling: FIQ Junior championships Dubai (four golds, one silver and twobronzes). Athletics: Asian Junior championships, Brunei (two silvers and onebronze). Badminton: Malaysian Open (Ong Ewe Hock, champion). Japan Open (RoslinHashim, champion). Swiss Open (Roslin Hashim, champion). Dutch Open (LeeTsuen Seng, champion). Thai Open (Yong Hock Kin, champion). China Open(Wong Choon Hann, runnerup). Singapore Open (Wong Choon Hann, runnerup).Copenhagen Masters (Wong Choon Hann, runnerup). Indonesian Open (Lee TsuenSeng, runnerup).


Equestrian: Datuk Kamaruddin Abd Ghani was ranked No 1 for the year2001. Qabil Ambak emerged champion of the South-East Asia ShowjumpingCurcuit and qualified for the 2002 World Championships. Swimming: Lim Keng Liat became the first Malaysian to qualify for thesemifinals of the 100m backstroke event at the World Championships. Diving: Rosatimah Mohammad, Leong Mun Yee and Yeo Ken Nee qualified forthe semifinals of the World championships in Japan. Gymnastics: Sarina Sundarajah improved on her world ranking from 78 in2000 to 49 in 2001 at the World championships that saw the participationof 131 gymnasts. Cycling: Lee Robert, Mariam and Nor Azian won one silver and two bronzeat the World B championships in the Individual Pursuit (m), 500mindividual time trial (w) and individual pursuit (w).


Bowling: Shalin Zulkifli emerged fourth at the AMF World Cup in Pattaya. Squash: Nicol David emerged champion while Tricia Chuah was semifinalistat the World Junior Championships. The team also emerged runnersup. Badminton: Chong Tan Fook and Lee Wan Wah emerged third at the worldchampionships in Seville. Karate: Karate-Do KOI, Kota Kinabalu (five golds). 4th LadiesInternational Cup, Tokyo (two bronzes). Sailing: World Optimist championships, China (one bronze).