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The ceremony was held in recognition of the athletes, coaches and officials who have always fought to uphold sports at Higher Education Institutions in Malaysia.

The awards were given not only to the student athletes who excel in their respective sports but also to the leaders of sports ranging from managers and coaches who have contributed to the sweat and dedication in ensuring excellence in sports in Malaysian public universities. 

The opening of the MASUM Sportsman 2015 Award Ceremony was officiated by Yang Berhormat Dato' Norsabrina Mohd Noor, member of the State Executive Council (EXCO), representing the Kedah Menteri Besar.

YB Dato' Norsabrina, who read the Menteri Besar's speech, said sports activities promote the spirit of unity and nation-building.

"Unity is so important for our nation and sports is the best way forward. To achieve this, the Malaysian government is vigorously promoting sports as one of the fundamentals in achieving a truly united Malaysian nation. The national unity is the nature of integration, namely through the adjustment with a variety of cultural and social characteristics that can be accepted by all ethnic groups in our country.

"The involvement of the Malaysian Higher Education Institutions is very important in improving the performance of sports in the country because the country needs more 'thinking athlete' or 'athlete with brain' to ensure the achievement of the national sports is at par with other developed countries like the United States and China," she said.

Meanwhile, Prof Dato' Dr Abdullah Mohamad Said, the Chairman of MASUM cum the President of ASEAN University Sports Council (AUSC) said to improve the quality of sports in Malaysia, the government has taken the initiative to create the National Sports Policy (NSP) which has outlined two main roles of universities that encourage students to participate in sports activities for active and provide learning opportunities to athletes at the university.

"In accordance with the policies formulated by the government, and to realise the great potential and the important role played by the student athletes, MASUM plays a significant role in enhancing the talents of the university athletes to be brought to a higher level through sports programmes designed and prepared year-round.

He added that the organisation of sports programmes and the MASUM involvement in the sports arena locally and internationally is one way to expose the university athletes to a more competitive environment.

"In addition to providing comprehensive training programmes with the involvement of experts consisting of faculty experts, will be able to improve the performance and skills of the athletes. The involvement of MASUM at the international level will also be able to introduce MASUM on the international stage in particular and the country in general," he said.

At the ceremony, a male triple jumper, Muhammad Hakimi Ismail of Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) was honoured with 2015 Malaysian Universities Sports Council (MASUM) Sportsman Award. He took home a cash prize amounting to RM3, 000, a trophy and a certificate.

Muhammad Hakimi won the triple jump gold medal and rewrote the SEA Games record in Singapore, ending Malaysia's 18-year gold medal drought in the event.

He recorded a jump of 16.76 metres in the final en route to the gold medal and erased the old record of 16.67 metres set by Nguyen Van Hung of Vietnam at the last edition of the Games in Myanmar two years ago.

Meanwhile, Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) student, Fatin Nurfatehah Mat Salleh, who won three gold medals in archery at Singapore SEA Games, was selected to receive the 2015 Malaysian Universities Sports Council (MASUM) Sportswoman Award.

Fatin Nurfatehah teamed up with Saritha Cham Nong and Nor Rizah Ishak to win the gold medal at the World Cup in Shanghai.

Apart from the two main awards, there were other categories of awards including the Best University Athletes (Men and Women), MASUM Sports Partner Award, Appreciation Award, MASUM Special Award, Best Coach Award, Best Manager Award, Best Teams (Men and Women) as well as Promising Talent Award (Men and Women).

They received a trophy and certificate each from YB Dato' Norsabrina.

Also present at the event were UUM Vice-Chancellor, Prof Dato' Seri Dr Mohamed Mustafa Ishak; Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Student Affairs and Alumni) of USM cum Chairman of Secretariat of Deputy Vice-Chancellors of public universities, Prof Dato' Dr Adnan Hussein; Deputy Chairman II of MASUM, Prof Dato' Dr Hassan Basri Awang Mat Dahan; Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Student Affairs and Alumni) of UUM, Assoc Prof Dr Abdul Malek Hj. Abdul Karim; Secretary of Sports Division (Higher Education Sector), Hazaly Jali and officials from UUM and MASUM.

Translated by Nurul Nazifah Mat Noh


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