KUALA LUMPUR: Sepaktakraw Association of Malaysia (SAM) president Datuk Seri Ahmad Ismail is unhappy with the proposal to drop the sport from the Podium Programme.
He says the move, if carried out, will demoralise the players.
According to Ismail, the proposal was not what his charges expected after ending a 24-year Asian Games gold medal drought by winning the inter-regu event recently in Palembang.
"Is this how we repay players who win gold at the Asian Games?
"The players gave their best to win after being promised that the sport will remain in Podium if they achieve it.
"It's very disappointing to drop some sports. This suggestion has been made in haste," said Ahmad.
Ahmad was responding to a statement from Sports Ministry chief secretary Datuk Lokman Hakim Ali who stated that non-Olympic sports might face the axe from Podium.
For the record, there are 148 athletes under Podium right now.
And among the non-Olympic sports which will be axed if the proposal is adopted are squash, sepaktakraw, bowling and silat.
Ahmad hopes Podium officials will consider sepaktakraw's plight when making a decision.
"I hope we remain under Podium because it's a good programme which helped us win gold after a lapse of 24 years.
"Only a few sports have qualified for the Olympics, so it's now wrong to start preparing for upcoming multi-sports games by placing a bigger pool of athletes under the programme,” Ahmad added.