THE trouble with us most of the time is that we allow our heads to be governed by our hearts.
When Sports Minister Datuk Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced tennis and taekwondo as the two sports dropped from the Malaysia Games or Sukma in Malacca in 2010, it was being typical Malaysia.
Instead of the 19 compulsory and 12 optional sports to be competed, only 18 compulsory and seven optional sports will feature in the Malacca Sukma.
Dropped from the list of optional sports are judo, rugby, canoeing, golf, volleyball, tennis and fencing.
Ismail Sabri said the only compulsory sport to be dropped was taekwondo as the national body in charge of the sport had yet to resolve its internal problems.
Why do you punish the athletes then? The Olympic Council of Malaysia can always take charge in the interim if the dispute cannot be resolved by then.
Like football, badminton and bowling, taekwondo and tennis enjoy mass appeal. Taekwondo can be taught anywhere, while I see tennis courts at almost every hotel. The National Tennis Centre at Jalan Duta comes alive every weekend.
In tennis and taekwondo, parents are willing to pay for their kids to get the right coaching.
We cannot run away from the fact that State governments put a lot of emphasis on the biennial Sukma, which means efforts to raise the standard of the two sports among the kids all over the country will take a backseat for the next two years now that they have been dropped from Sukma.
What's the purpose of having Fed-ex and Nadal demonstrating what's best about the game here but in the end leave the kids with nothing to aspire to competitively?
Tennis and taekwondo, as permanent fixtures in the Asian Games and the Olympics, should be in Sukma. Sukma which means soul, is in danger of losing its soul!