KUALA LUMPUR: A former Olympian says there is a “toxic and negative” team culture in Malaysian swimming, following a poor showing at the Southeast Asian Games.
Marilyn Chua, who competed at the 2000 Olympics, spoke out ahead of the Asian Games this year in China.
Now the Selangor state coach, Chua was quoted by Wednesday’s Star newspaper as saying: “Regrettably, many of my swimmers upon joining the national team recounted with tears how toxic and negative the team culture is.
“How can athletes perform their best when the environment they are in is not conducive for growth?” she added.
At this month’s SEA Games in Phnom Penh, Malaysia won only one of the 39 gold medals up for grabs.
Chua said the national swimming team lacked unity, leadership, fairness and transparency in its selection process.
The team has been in a downward spiral over the past two decades, she said.
She suggested changes outside the pool, including more effective leadership, and appealed to the national swimming federation to work with state associations.
“I have attended numerous international competitions but have yet to witness the national team unite in a single cheer,” she said.
AFP has approached Malaysia Swimming for comment.