STATE athletes will gain the same access to sport science services and knowledge as national athletes following the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the National Sports Institute (NSI) and State Sports Councils in Putrajaya yesterday.The agreement formalises and expands the structure which currently exists between the NSI's satellite centres and the State Sports Councils.
This will allow a systematic approach to sport science services, research and sports medicine being made available to state-based athletes.
Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said national athletes will no longer be the sole beneficiary of the NSI's expertise in sport science with the signing of this agreement.
"This co-operation agreement between NSI and the State Sports Councils will be more structured and allow the expertise at NSI to be made available to state athletes," said Khairy after witnessing the signing ceremony in Putrajaya yesterday.
"We hope the states will take sport science seriously as it is an important aspect in the development and education of athletes. NSI should no longer just be seen as a sports clinic where athletes go to have their injuries treated.
"NSI has become more comprehensive and is involved in the conditioning and psychological preparation of athletes as well."
Among the objectives of the memorandum are creating a culture of evidence-based training programme for athletes, streamlining the coach and athlete education programmes, cooperatng in talent identification at state level and follow-up efforts, ensuring states receive the latest information in sport science and medicine and strengthening the relationship between NSI in Bukit Jalil and with its satellite centres.
NSI set up its first satellite centres in 2007 and the number has since grown to 11 nationwide, including one at the Sultan Tunku Ismail Mahkota Sports School in Bandar Penawar with 73 staff.
"Sport science facilities and expertise must reach every young athlete across the country," said Khairy in his speech. "Action must be taken through a comprehensive plan to ensure the availability of specialists to the public.
"The needs of sport science and NSI's ability to fulfil this need has to improve from time to time. Exposure to sport science for our young athletes must take place immediately and no longer be about talking and planning only."