I’ve read all your tweets, Facebook messages and emails regarding the date change of the Standard Chartered KL Marathon 2015. There are a few things I want to clear up.
The National Sports Day isn’t about achieving KPIs or hijacking events. There are noble intentions in what we were trying to do. We were trying to get as many Malaysians from different ethnicities, religions, age, location and walks of life out there as one to do as many sporting activities as possible on one day.
The power of sports to unite people can not be underestimated. When you’re running, cycling, lifting weights or playing football, they person next to you isn’t defined by what they look like, but rather what they’re able to achieve. Not in relation to you, but in relation to themselves. Sports has that power to show you what your limits are and then pushes you to exceed them.
Ten months ago, my ministry launched the Fit Malaysia initiative with this in mind. In that short time, we’ve seen great success in bringing people together. We’ve had tens of thousands of people who might ordinarily not exercise come out to join us in our fitness activities. We’ve had people who might ordinarily not mix around outside their ethnic boundaries come together as one. Everyone who’ve been at the events have been Malaysians.
The National Sports Day is the culmination of the Fit Malaysia movement -- one day in a year where everyone gets off the couch, comes out, and does something, not for fitness or sports, but for themselves. To join organised runs like the Standard Chartered KL Marathon or the Spartan Race, dance at the Score FitMob, play football or badminton, or just get out there to your local neighbourhood park with your loved ones and do something.
The National Sports Day is not a political event with a political agenda, like how Teachers Day or Cancer Awareness Month are not. It was to be our step towards becoming a sporting nation and to make sports and fitness part of a Malaysian culture, identity and lifestyle. We are a sports-loving nation but we are nowhere near being a sporting nation.
That was the idea behind changing the date of the Standard Chartered KL Marathon. It was a joint decision between the ministry, Standard Chartered, Dirigo Events and DBKL, and for that I thank them for their commitment and support to this national agenda. Not only them, but all the other organisers and partners who’ve pledged to pull their weight to come together on that one day.
It was not to “hijack” their event to artificially boost participation for the inaugural National Sports Day or to achieve my KPI. We were looking for several iconic events all around Malaysia and we realised that there is a hunger for running events, evident from the spots that have been quickly sold out in these events.
I have personally been reading a lot of your comments about the marathon and have held many discussions with the organisers and other stakeholders. We have jointly come to the conclusion that the Standard Chartered KL Marathon will be reverted back to October 4, considering the many issues that have been raised.
On behalf of the ministry, Standard Chartered, Dirigo and DBKL, I apologise for the inconvenience caused by the earlier change in date and I hope that you all will still come forward to support the National Sports Day.
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