KUALA LUMPUR, Apr 13 – The Junior Cycling Malaysia (JCM) programme commenced last weekend with over 700 participants from the age of five to 19 at the Malaysia Agro Exposition Park Serdang (MAEPS). Youth and Sports minister Khairy Jamaluddin said the programme, organised by the National Sports Council and they will be working with the Education Ministry to boost participation and improve accessibility to the masses.
“This is one area we would like to change. We want to get them going from a younger age. We will work together with the Education Ministry to get more students involved in the JCM programme. We want to make JCM accessible and fun to encourage more youngsters into the sport,” Khairy was quoted saying.
The minister also gave out medals and presented mock cheques to the winners of each category at the end of the race. While the winners in the under-9 category. The prize money that was offered ranged from RM10 to RM300 for all age groups. The winners of the Under-9 and Under-11 category were awarded a measly RM30 cash prize, whereas RM40 and RM50 were awarded to to Under-13 and Under-15 age group respectively.
The Masters Men category, which was for men within the age of 36 and 45, gave participants the chance of winning only RM300 if they finished the race in first place. While the initiative is one that’s incredibly welcomed by everyone across the board, the ’embarassing’ cash prizes evidently enraged quite a number of people on social media.
In the meantime, it were also pictured with the smiling faces, the photos that were published on ‘Cycling Malaysia Magazine’ Facebook however received public backlash, with many ridiculing the small amount of prize money given worth RM10, RM20 and RM30.
Some of the questions raised include: “How does a nationwide event only offer cash prizes worth up to RM300 if you win a gold medal?”, “The Under-9 and Under-11 kids who came in third place, held a mock cheque worth RM10. Wouldn’t the cost of making a cheque of that size cost much more than the prize?”