Developing the interest for sport among children

In reply to En. Pathmanathan K. Suppiah's comments in Aktiviti Kokurikulum di Sekolah,

Every child has the fundamental rights to participate in physical activities, be it organised or otherwise. Undoubtedly PE is the cornerstone for introducing various sports and games. Apart from such structured medium, unstructured physical activities too contribute towards encouraging the child into long term involvement into sports. Empirical evidence has shown that elite athletes benefited from participating in such activities early in their career. Activities in peer-led play and modified games (e.g., street football, backyard badminton) have been found to influence the transfer of certain sport-related skills (e.g. recognition of pattern-of-play and decision-making). Perhaps the most compelling benefit from such informal activities is the inculcation of intrinsic motivation to participate in sport from young.
Children often organised such impromptu activities among themselves after school hours or during holidays and often use their school fields and courts (are there any public fields left in the neighbourhood?). Remember the heydays when Malaysia won the Thomas Cup, every child will be playing badminton in their backyard, likewise when we made the semifinals of the hockey World Cup, or when we won the Merdeka cup (beating South Korea!). Every school going children will try to emulate their heroes, the comments heard in between classes and during recess will put pundits to shame. Alas, those cherished memories.
Merely depending on organised physical activities (i.e., PE and co-curricular) will not solve the problem of declining interest (and standard?) in sport among children. The current practice and belief is 'catch 'em young' which translates to specialising in one sport at an early age, which most of the time eliminates the 'fun' out of participating in sport. Participation in the unstructured childhood-organised playful activities provides a more economical path towards excellence in sport.

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