Ted Meekma Consult says:
"In mid 2009, we signed a long term contract with Sime Darby Property, a subsidiary of Sime Darby Berhad, the largest multi-national company in Malaysia. Our role is to help concept and develop a 446 acre multi-sport training academy within the sports, health and education-themed township Sime Darby is building in Labu (20 minutes east of Kuala Lumpur International Airport).
SDSA will be unlike anything seen before in Asia. It will combine an international school private academic education with world class athletic training in a variety of sports, and it will deliver these two programs on an almost equal basis. In addition, the National Sports Institute of Malaysia will re-locate its headquarters to 100 acres of Sime Darby land adjacent to our academy. This highly respected sports science research and development organization will be instrumental in helping us attract Malaysian national teams and players to come train at SDSA on both a short term (weekly) and long term (semester) basis. We are certain that an environment as unique as this one will attract athletes and student/athletes not only from Malaysia and ASEAN, but from China, Korea, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, India, the Middle East and beyond.
This exciting sports and education complex will be built in the middle of a world class residential development alongside three great golf courses, clubs, destination resort hotels, entertainment venues and health care features."
In an interview with pargolfmagazine.com.my, Sime Darby Property MD, Datuk Tunku Badlishah Tunku Annuar, says:
“We’re building a Sime Darby Sports Academy near KLIA in our Labu Estate,” revealed Tunku Badlishah. “This is a vision of our chairman (Tun Musa Hitam), who visited the IMG Academies in Florida about two years ago and thought that there was potential for something like that for this region, based in Malaysia.”
The first phase of the mammoth project will include a golf academy, golf course, tennis academy, soccer academy, Olympic-size swimming pool, running tracks and a 30,000-seater stadium. Tunku Badlishah noted that work is expected to commence this year.
“The layout plan has been submitted to the authorities, so we hope to get approval within the next month or so and to break ground this year. The construction period for the first phase is probably around two years, so we hope to start operations some time in 2012,” he said. “There will be an academy course and we’re talking to IMG about two other designer courses adjacent to that course, so we’re looking at a 54-hole facility. As the need arises, we have a lot of land in that area so we can grow.
“The idea is to start young, to start with the kids. At the IMG Academies, they focus on the age group of 10 to 18 and I think that’s where we are very weak in Malaysia. The other problem in Malaysia is always the academic side; you either choose to excel in sports or you study. With this academy, we will combine the best in sports with the best in education.”
Sime Darby has engaged Ted Meekma, former director of the IMG Academies in Florida, to spearhead the project.
“Ted has been helping us design the facility and he came up with the specs based on his vast experience,” noted Tunku Badlishah. “He will also help us to set up the programmes. I think that’s the most important thing; building structures is easy but the programmes are the key because we won't only be focusing on the sports. Obviously the physio side is important, as is the mental side and nutrition.”
Wow, I'm impressed!
K. Rajagobal wants competitive matches on a regular basis...though we have an 80,000-seater stadium at Shah Alam and a 100,000-capacity National Stadium
Our tennis youngsters venture beyond NTC to develop their game...though we have a fully equipped tennis centre at Jalan Duta
The nation's top cyclists are based in Australia...though we have two velodromes
Infrastructure or hardware - first class...
Software development? ...
I hope the world-class sports academy in Labu would appeal to world class athletes as well.
What our athletes need is top-class sparring. If we had this all along, Lee Chong Wei, Nicol David and Azizulhasni Awang would not see the need to live elsewhere and Rajagobal would not be lamenting the lack of exposure!
But I would not mind driving to Labu, as it will be a trip down memory lane, revisiting the days when our late parents took us to see Man who studied at one of the nation's leading boarding schools in the 80s.