In the New Straits Times yesterday.
MALAYSIAN Amateur Athletic Union (MAAU) deputy president Karim Ibrahim may have burnt his bridges with the National Sports Council (NSC) after being declared persona non grata by Datuk Zolkples Embong.
Zolkples, the NSC director-general, has had enough of Karim's antics and has written to MAAU president Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim requesting the appointment of another official to act as a go-between with NSC.
Tension between the two well-spoken officials had been simmering for a while and finally boiled over in the last two weeks over the inspection of a newly laid training track at Bukit Jalil.
"I have had it wasting my time dealing with the antics of this particular official. I am the only person capable of reaching a compromise with him and deal with him.
"But I don't have the time to deal with this anymore so I have written to Datuk Seri Shahidan to name another official to liaise with NSC.
"Apparently he was reported as calling for me to resign, so if that is the case it means he does not accept my position as director- general of NSC and therefore cannot deal with NSC," said Zolkples, who never once mentioned Karim by name when speaking to RTM's Sukan @ 1 programme yesterday.
Zolkples and Karim clashed recently after the latter allegedly prevented national athletics chief coach Harun Rasheed, a salaried employee of NSC, from accepting Zolkples' invitation to inspect the relaid training track.
A war of words erupted through various media outlets, leading to an irrevocable breakdown in the relationship between the two officials.
"My main concern is that the athletes don't suffer because of this. Athletes should be given the highest priority in anything we do.
"Without the athletes there would be no sports association or NSC. I am not interested in getting involved in the affairs of sports associations, as long as athletes' training and preparation are not affected," said Zolkples.
Zolkples also questioned MAAU's sincerity where the welfare of athletes is concerned and claiming credit for the efforts of others.
"When (hurdler) Noraseela Khalid was injured, they never once bothered about her. We took care of her injury, recovery and training.
"And when she won silver at the Asian Championships (last year), suddenly they were everywhere claiming they helped her do it," said an exasperated Zolkples.