Immersing in Olympism

Zaher (in red), third from left

30 Dec 2017

An account by Zaher Bin Wahab, who attended the recently concluded 21st NOA Session for Young Participants organised by the Olympic Council of Malaysia

The 21st NOA Session, organised by the Olympic Council of Malaysia, was held in Kuala Lumpur and Port Dickson from 11 to 15 December 2017, with a total of 33 participants. Of these, 17 came from overseas countries like Cambodia, People’s Republic of China, Chinese Taipei, Maldives, Mongolia, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar, South Korea and Japan. I was most fortunate to be given this golden opportunity to represent Singapore.

This was the first time that the programme was primarily conducted at a venue outside Kuala Lumpur and it gave many of us a chance to visit scenic Port Dickson. Incorporated within the NOA programme was a good mix of activities – both indoors and outdoors – which helped the young participants learn more about Olympism and the Olympic values of Friendship, Excellence and Respect.

One outdoor activity that was particularly memorable was “sea rafting” where we were given 20 minutes to put together a seaworthy raft using nylon rope, bamboo poles and four inflatable drums. We truly learnt the meaning of “trust” when at the last moment, we were asked to launch using another group’s raft!

Our task was to row our raft into the sea and retrieve a flag floating on a pontoon, some 200m away from shore. Whilst many of us certainly felt tired after retrieving the flag, the remaining trip back to shore meant that we had to dig deep and work as a team, to be able to complete the journey back.

Group presentations were another mainstay of the NOA and it was an enriching experience to learn from one another and see different points of view. On the final day, each group had to put up a presentation whilst dressed in their National costume and all of us had great fun, laughing and learning from each other.

In summary, I felt very blessed for the opportunity to participate in the 21st NOA Session as I could learn so much from my Malaysian and foreign counterparts. Whilst I was one of the oldest participants, I certainly did not feel old as we worked – hand in hand – towards a common goal.

In the words of Baron Pierre de Coubertin: “A better world can be brought about only by better individuals…” and I firmly believe that I have come away from the 21st NOA Session, a better person than I was before. Special thanks to the SNOC for this wonderful opportunity.