Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Sports science cannot be ignored - A vital ingredient for sports development in Sarawak

by Simon Ingka Crown & Perry Ragam
February 3, 2010, Wednesday

KUCHING:Sports science is a key ingredient for sports development in the state.

It would greatly benefit both junior and elite programmes alike, according to Jim Ferguson, a senior consultant from Australia for Sarawak’s Sports Development Master Plan Study to the year 2020.

He said although the public might have heard of sports science, they might not know what it really was.
“So it’s our duty to let them know the basics to help them gain more sports knowledge.”

Ferguson said a sports science approach would not only be of immense help to athletes in pursuing excellence in their disciplines but the subject could also be taught as an additional syllabus in schools and colleges.

According to him, his first task was to look into the present system — its strengths and weaknesses — and make recommendations for further improvement.

He explained that sound sports theories and practices would serve a vital development link between junior and elite levels and could also be used to monitor the performance of athletes from beginner’s to advanced stage.

Putting into practice sports theories imparted by the experts would help athletes appreciate the importance of proper dieting, time management, performance evaluation and counselling (mental training), he said.

“There are lots of things to learn from this discipline and it’s important to instill the values of sports science in our athletes at a very young age so that they will get to it better when they grow up.”

According to Ferguson, sports science was presently only taught at the tertiary level and still alien to primary and secondary schools.

To change this, he suggested introducing the subject to the schools, hoping that the education and sports authorities in the country would look into the matter.

Ferguson, a graduate of Sydney University, has held numerous posts relating to sports development in his country.

He was executive director of the Australian Sports Commission — a position he held for 11 years — until 2001. The Commission is responsible for the development of all sports — from junior and community through to elite levels.

He was also head of the Tourism and Sports Division at the Australian Department of Arts, Sports, Environment and Tourism (1986-90), and instrumental in amalgamating the various sports bodies in Australia, and creating the new Australian Sports Commission, which is responsible for sports development in Down Under.

Ferguson has overseen sports development programmes in a number of countries, including New Zealand, South Africa, Thailand, the Philippines, Maldives and the Pacific countries.

For many years, he has been actively involved in rugby as a player, coach and referee.

He has also been the president of the ACT Rugby Union and operator of the Brumbies, Australia’s most successful rugby team.

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