Monday, March 19, 2012

How Milo became the catalyst to sports development

The clarion call for sports in our country is “Malaysia Boleh” which, in a way, is synonymous with “Milo Boleh”.

And Milo, a fortified food drink from Nestle, has certainly made its mark in Malaysian sport. Probably most of us have gingerly lined up for the drink from a van or a container during our school’s sports day. And how we almost died of thirst when we don’t see the green-coloured van.

And Milo is certainly Nestle’s success story as it has transcended all boundaries to become a household name synonymous with children and sports in Malaysia.

Today, Nestle, a leading specialist in nutrition, health and wellness products, will be celebrating their 100th anniversary, a milestone which few companies in Malaysia can reach.

In retrospect, there’s always the Milo presence in any sports in our country. And then came the “Malaysia Boleh” slogan which was formulated by Milo in 1992.

Familiar sight: Children lining up to get a drink from the Milo van which visits schools on sports day.
It was coined after a brain-storming session between former Nestle sports marketing manager Datuk Dina Rizal and the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM).

Dina, who has been with the company for 30 years and who retired in 2003, fondly said reminiscently: “In 1992, former Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) president Tan Sri Hamzah Abu Samah asked us to look at ways to encourage and support the Malaysian athletes during overseas competitions like the SEA Games. So after a brain-storming session, we came up with several slogans.

“At the end we selected “Malaysia Boleh”. It was to be launched for the 1993 SEA Games in Singapore. It involved getting signatures and messages of support from people of all walks of life – from the King to the common people. It proved to be a massive success with more than 1.5 million signatures collected.

“In 1998, for the Commonwealth Games which was held here in Kuala Lumpur, we managed to get a record five million people involved. I am sure it is still in the Guinness Book of Records.”

Schools, districts, states and even national level sports have Milo either as sponsors or partners in their development programmes. Many of today’s top athletes like bowler Shalin Zulkifli, world squash champion Datuk Nicol David and Ong Beng Hee and the swimming contingent have taken part in Milo events before bursting into the national scene.

So, what has made Nestle’s Milo such a popular brand and how did they reach out to the masses, especially the kids?
It was first introduced in 1950 and their early catch phrase was “It’s Marvellous What MILO Can Do For You” and then it evolved into “MILO Brings Out The Champion In You” in 2000. Currently, it is just two words – “Go Further” .

They have certainly gone further to walk the talk in helping, motivating and supporting sports in our country.
Ng Ping Loong, who took over from Dina, said that the success of the brand is also due to the policy in helping kids develop their skills in sports. Nestle’s commitment to the brand has never wavered and the policy to play a part in the development of sports is an ongoing process.

“We also believe that sports is a great way to bring people together and that there is a champion in every kid. The question is finding it and nurturing them to become one,” said Ping Loong.
Ping Loong said the hard work in promoting the Milo events has paid off.

“We are into almost all the development programmes in sports. And we plan to continue doing so. Nestle has a long-term interest and its 100 years in Malaysia is proof that we plan to stay much longer” he added.
Ping Loong wishes to invite readers to celebrate the 100th anniversary at Dataran Merdeka from 2pm to 10pm.

OCM secretary Datuk Sieh Kok Chi, who has dealt with Milo over 40 years, said there is no question about Milo’s ability to sustain their partnership in sports.

“I was the secretary of the Selangor Swimming Association in 1971 when I first dealt with them.
“And until today, we find that Milo has remain faithful to the sports development programmes.”

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Former National Olympian Nashatar's Health Improves

KUALA LUMPUR, March 2 (Bernama) -- The health of former national Olympian Datuk Nashatar Singh has shown signs of improvement after he was warded for a week at the Kuala Lumpur Gleaneagles Hospital.

The 73-year-old who went to the Olympics for two games, suffered back and nerve pains and needs a wheelchair to move about.

Currently, he is undergoing special physiotherapy as part of rehabilitation.

"Maybe, in a few days, I could go home after finishing my physiotherapy," Nashatar was quoted as saying, in a statement issued by the National Athletes Welfare Foundation (Yakeb).

Among his greatest achievements were two gold medals (javelin) in the 1965 SEAP Kuala Lumpur, one gold (javelin) in Asian Games in Bangkok (1966), six gold medals (javelin) from 1967 to 1975 in Sea Games and also gold medal in shot put (1967).

Can Malaysia emulate 1966 feat of an All-England double?

BIRMINGHAM: Can Malaysia dare to dream of a double in the 114th edition of the All-England badminton championships?

Today, the best of the best, including Malaysia’s main hopes Lee Chong Wei and Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong, get down to do battle in the first round at the National Indoor Arena here in Birmingham.

It is the perfect tournament for the players to get the mood and feel of the Olympic Games as England is in full swing with its massive preparations to host the Games in London from July 27-Aug 12.

Milestone: Tan Yee Khan (left) and Ng Boon Bee (right) won the doubles title while Tan Aik Huang lifted the singles at the All-England in 1966.
The Olympic qualification period ends on April 29 and, with time running out, expect both the medal hopefuls and pretenders to outdo themselves in pursuit of points and honours.

For Malaysia, it will be an Olympian boost if Chong Wei and Kien Keat-Boon Heong can emerge champions to end the country’s 46-year wait for the double, which Tan Aik Huang and Ng Boon Bee-Tan Yee Khan delivered in 1966.

Realistically though, only Chong Wei, going for a hat-trick of wins, has a chance. The defending champion has a good draw and is motivated to equal the late Wong Peng Soon’s extraordinary feat of winning the title for three consecutive years from 1950-1952.

The 2008 Beijing Olympic Games silver medallist, Chong Wei, who had two days to get used to the cold climate here, has vowed to sizzle.

“All the top players are here and the competition will be one of the toughest in recent times. It looks like a small Olympic Games competition,” he said.

Chong Wei, who won the South Korea and Malaysia Open earlier this year, will be mindful of the strong China presence.

In his half of the draw are Wang Zhengming, his first round opponent, and Du Pengyu, while Lin Dan, Chen Long and Chen Jin are in the bottom half. All of them will be eager to undermine Chong Wei’s confidence ahead of the Olympic Games.

It would be a perfect climax if Chong Wei meets Lin Dan in the final but Chen Long and Chen Jin will certainly have a say on that.

Both Chens may not have won any titles so far this year – with Chen Long suffering from an injury at the Korea Open and Chen Jin battling with inconsistency – but they will be eager to make a mark ahead of the Olympics.

Click on image to view larger chart.
As for the 2007 champions Kien Keat-Boon Heong, it could be all over today when they take on Japan’s second pair of Naoki Kawame-Shoji Sato in the opening round. Or they may prove the sceptics wrong and bulldoze their way to their third final. It all depends on how determined they are to show that they are still a force to be reckoned with in the men’s doubles.

They did well at the Thomas Cup qualifiers in Macau with a win over South Koreans Ko Sung-hyun-Yoo Yeon-seong last month, but many are still unconvinced that the duo have recaptured their form of old.
Said national doubles chief coach Tan Kim Her: “Koo and Tan have to be more consistent. There are positive signs in the way they carry themselves on court. It is this renewed determination, fire and improved tactical play that I want to see here.”

A win will be a tremendous boost as Kien Keat-Boon Heong have been searching in vain for a Super Series title since winning the 2010 Malaysia Open. It has been nothing but heartbreak ever since with misses in the finals of the 2010 World Championships, 2010 Asian Games and 2011 All-England.

The other Malaysian players here all face uphill tasks although Tee Jing Yi (women’s singles), Wong Pei Tty-Chin Eei Hui (women’s doubles) and Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying (mixed doubles) are expected to shore up their chances of qualifying for the Olympics.