The Malaysian Sports School that is currently under construction in Sepanggar, near here, is a manifestation of the government's seriousness in giving greater emphasis towards the development of sports in the country.
Deputy Education Minister, Ir Datuk Wee Ka Siong said this was the direction that Malaysia is heading in the development of sports and that Sabah was not exempted.
"We already have a Malaysian Sports School in Bukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpur and also one in Bandar Penawar, Johor and the one that is being built in Sepanggar will be the third of such school in the country.
"The school in Sepanggar will focus on the development of water sports as Sabah is known for producing athletes for water sports," he said.
Wee told reporters this after officially opening the 4th Asian Schools Football Championship Under-15 at the Likas Sports Complex here, Thursday.
He said the school, which is scheduled for completion in 2012, will be among some of the plans that the Deputy Prime Minister has in store for sports development in the country.
"We will also have several Teachers' Training Institutes which will produce teachers that are trained in Physical Education.
"And there are plans to increase coaching programmes to produce more qualified personnel to take on coaching roles. These and other approaches signify the government's seriousness in developing sports in this country, said Wee.
He said among the sports that the government is aiming to revive and further develop is football.
"In the 80s football used to be popular in Malaysia. Recently, however, interest in football has seen a sharp decline following Malaysia poor performance in the global arena.
"I think we are now number 160 in football out of 162 countries and that is terrible," said Wee.