Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Pitching through sports

MADRID - the spiritual home of Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka, Zinedine Zidane and Alfredo Di Stefano. Rio de Janeiro - the land of the samba that gave the world arguably the greatest ever team not to win the World Cup, Tele Santana's Class of 1982. Tokyo - the land of the Rising Sun. And Chicago. All four cities are bidding to host the 2016 Olympic Games, the biggest sporting extravaganza in the universe.

The chieftains in the International Olympic Committee (IOC), one of them Malaysia's Tunku Imran Tuanku Ja'afar, will exercise their right to vote and pick the city in Copenhagen on Friday. It's the homestraight, the final dash for the right to stage the money-spinning Games that would help fill the country's coffers.

So much so even the US president Barack Obama is making a dash for it as he joins a team that includes Oprah Winfrey and more than a dozen gold medallists to pitch for Chicago's bid.

Obama's decision is unprecedented. No US President had ever made such a trip to cajole and plead on his country's behalf.

Though he could find himself being rejected, Obama realises as the chief executive of his nation, he is in a position to influence the outcome. He is the best salesman for the job. Much like the way Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, with the help of Tan Sri Basir Ismail, did in getting Bernie Ecclestone to award the Formula1 Grand Prix to Sepang in 1999.

Sports is the platform. Likewise Datuk Seri Najib Razak is probably taking the same route through 1Malaysia F1 Team.

Though I hate to see the 1Malaysia brand being attached to anything remotely Malaysia and Malaysian, I could sense that the ultimate aim is to provide Malaysians the opportunity to further ourselves in the world of technology. Imagine 6,000 applicants applied for 225 job vacancies with the 1Malaysia F1 team. Read here.

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