Looking forward to 2017: The sports desk's wishes

Halt internal battles, fight for the athletes

Athletes are the reason we watch sport and they deserve our unwavering support in return.
Athletes are the reason we watch sport and they deserve our unwavering support in return.PHOTO: ST FILE

In 2016, we witnessed factions within national sports associations in Singapore and divisions between officials and athletes. There was plenty of fighting in the sporting arena, but just not enough of the kind that is needed.

This year has to be better.

Athletes pour the best years of their lives into their sport, competing for themselves and their country, never knowing if sweat will end in success. They are the reason we watch sport and they deserve our unwavering support in return.

It matters less who makes the decisions regarding the athlete: how much he should train, who should coach him, where he should travel. What matters is that every decision is made with the athlete's best interests in mind. The official may be older, but the athlete comes first.

When our athletes stand proudly on podiums during their moment of triumph, there are always officials jostling for a place in the spotlight. But it would be nice to know in 2017 that as many officials will sit with athletes in silent support in lonely dressing rooms during their worst moments.

This year I hope to see less fighting between officials and more fighting for athletes.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on January 01, 2017, with the headline 'Halt internal battles, fight for the athletes'. Print Edition | Subscribe