Khairy, who assumed the post last month when he took over from Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek, also intends to make the National Sports Institute (NSI) a world class unit in terms of facility and personnel.
“Right now, we are in the final phase of a strategic plan in making the NSI a world class facility by 2020,” said Khairy, who visited the NSI in Bukit Jalil for the first time with Deputy Minister Datuk M. Saravanan yesterday.
“The first part of the plan revolves around increasing the staff at NSI, not just in quantity but in quality as well. For me, the NSI is important because I truly believe in sports science and evidence-based sports development.
“And for that, my ministry will give a lot of support to NSI in order to produce athletes who can perform at their best at the highest level.
“Right now, the level of awareness towards sports science by our athletes is still quite low. I want to work closely with NSI, the National Sports Council (NSC) and all the national sports associations to encourage the application of sports science in training and preparation.
“I don’t want all the resources to be channelled towards game reviews only. I want the athletes to use the sports science facilities we have for their own preparations in terms of nutrition, psychology and physical conditioning.
“In fact, it’s not just the athletes who need to adapt, it’s the coaches too who must believe in sports science ... because that’s how modern sports is. We will not interrupt the regular training routines but coaches have to be serious with sports science too.
“A fine example of an athlete who truly believes in sports science is (Lee) Chong Wei. He’s really serious about this and it shows because even though he’s 30 years old, he still performs at the highest level.”
Khairy, who also met several athletes at the NSI, added that the second part of his plan was to have a talent identification programme to spot bright talents at an early age.
“I will chair a workforce, which will enlist the help of the Education Ministry, that aims to identify talented athletes at a younger age,” said Khairy.
“If we do not have a good talent identification programme, we will not have any good talent in the next five to 10 years.
“That’s why we need to identify these young talents early – preferably from primary school onwards and expose them to the NSC and NSI training system early in order for them to become future national athletes.”
By KNG ZHENG GUAN- THE STAR